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Black Eyed Peas

The following recipe is mandatory if you are preparing a New Years Day meal and you are South of the Mason-Dixon Line. Tradition goes you must eat black-eyed peas on New Years Day for good luck. I prefer mine a bit on the spicy side, but by Louisiana guidelines of taste, my peas are a bit bland. This is the part where you need to taste and adjust the seasoning. Remember that you can always add a little more but you can’t take the seasoning out if you have overdone it. You might need to re-season and let the peas simmer a couple more minutes two or three times. If you are in Pennsylvania for New Years, make enough for yourself and any southern born guests.

1 pound of dry black-eyed peas
2 Ribs of celery, diced
1 Medium onion, diced
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Sort through the peas. Discard any discolored or damaged peas as well as any rocks or clods of dirt. Place in a large bowl and add twice as much water (peas 3-inches deep in the bowl covered with a total of 6-inches of water). The peas will absorb the water. Soak over night or at least 3 or 4 hours. 2 hours prior to service, sauté the celery, onion and garlic until translucent. Drain and rinse the peas. Add to the pot along with 1 inch of water above the peas. Add the bay leaf, salt and ˝ the Creole Seasoning. Cook for 1˝ to 2 hours until the peas are tender but not mushy. Adjust the taste with the balance of the Creole Season and the liquid smoke. Serve piping hot. This should serve 10 to 15 with the New Years Buffet or 4 hungry people from Louisiana with extra hot sauce and a pan of corn bread.

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