This recipe for black-eyed peas and pork gumbo is a traditional dish in my family for New Years Day. Being a true Southerner, we are all about some black-eyed peas on New Years Day. It is believed to be the dish of good-luck. A meal with black-eyed peas and throw a few in your wallet or change purse and we feel we've paved the way for a year of prosperity. Word to the wise, just make sure those black-eyed peas you're tossing in your coin purse are uncooked and dried.
The recipe is extensive and takes quite a bit of time to prepare. I suggest studying the recipe and preparing before diving in. Make a shopping list, and check it twice. Many of the ingredients are fresh, so plan a trip to the store soon to the date of cooking. This recipe makes approximately 8 servings and is best cook and served immediately.
Black-Eyed Peas and Pork Gumbo Ingredients:
- 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cup of fresh okra, sliced (Fresh is better, but you can use frozen if it's not available in your area)
- 1 cup of onions, chopped (I prefer yellow onions for cooking)
- ¾ cup of celery, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cups of tomatoes, chopped or 14-ounces of drained, whole tomatoes, chopped
- 1/3 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of dried thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon of ground red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- ¾ pound of smoked pork chops, fat trimmed off, boned and cubed or ½ lb of chopped ham, cubed (some people use jowl bacon because it is also a traditional New Year's food)
- 15-ounce can of black-eyed peas, do not drain
- 2 cups of hot, cooked rice
- ¼ fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup of green onions, chopped
- Heat the 1/3 cup of vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium to low heat, until hot. Please use a skillet that isn't coated with teflon!
- Use a wire whisk to stir in the flour. This will help eliminate any lumps that might form. It can help to sift the flour before hand as well.
- Cook the oil/flour for about 5 or 6 minutes, stirring constantly. It should be a nice golden brown color. Remove from the heat and set aside for later use.
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a 3-inch heavy skillet or use a 4 quart Dutch oven. Heat over medium heat until the oil becomes hot.
- Add in the fresh sliced okra, chopped onions, celery and minced garlic. Cook this mixture for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are nice and tender. Be sure to stir the mixture occasionally.
- Once the vegetables are tender, stir in the flour and oil mixture and combine until well blended.
- Now add in the water, tomatoes, 1/3 cup of the fresh parsley, salt, thyme leaves, red pepper, black pepper and bay leaves.
- Bring the contents to a iboil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the contents for about 20 minutes.
- Add in the cubed pork chops or ham and continue to cook the ingredients for another 15 or 20 minutes. Be sure the pork s fully cooked, and the meat is tender. The pork should no longer be pink. For the best tasting gumbo, I suggest using the pork chops. However, the ham can come in handy since it is usually always on stock and doesn’t require as much preparation. It's probably cheaper too.
- While waiting for the stew to finish cooking, began preparing the topping. The rice needs to be done, but still fresh and hot when the stew gets done cooking. Don't use over cooked, sticky rice. This will ensure the best results and most importantly, taste.
- Stir in the black eye peas, including the juice from the can. Continue to cook until the black-eye peas become thoroughly cooked.
- Now remove the bay leaves. This is so the bay leaves won’t stew and over power the taste.
- Ladle out the soup into about 8 bowls and then top.
- Top each bowl with ¼ cup of the cooked rice.
- Garnish the tops with the fresh chopped parsley and chopped green onions. The green onions can be omitted if desired.
Serve this dish immediately. The black-eyed peas and pork gumbo taste the best served warm. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. However, I've never been too impressed with this dish leftovered. It's best to have enough guest for all 8 servings.
*You can always prepare your black-eyed peas fresh. However, this is a lengthy task and a lot of work for such a small amount. You'll have to outweigh the pros and cons. Freshness and taste verses time and trouble.
**For even more superstitious New Year's good luck, eat a side of cooked cabbage.