I don't know where or when the tradition started to eat black-eyed peas to bring luck to the new year, but I believe it comes from the American south. For me, this is a simple, flavorful way to bring several cultures together. The recipe is inspired by my friend Val’s English father-in-law Roger Barrett. When Val lived in London, I loved all the gorgeous Indian food, and this I recall was Roger’s creation, although he used coconut butter, which came in wrapped cubes, and he call the peas black-eyed “beans,” which really is a better description. I’ve adapted it using a can of coconut milk (the fat rises to the top and is perfect for the sauté) and curry powder from the grocery store. Yes, I know Indians typically blend their own curry spices, so if you do that yourself, by all means go ahead.
About the photo, somehow I thought my year would be even luckier if I ate from my Pegasus bowl, snapped up at Fishs Eddy on Broadway in New York many years ago.
Curried black-eyed peas
Serves six as a side
1 can coconut milk
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cans black-eyed peas (3 cups), drained and rinsed
1 gala apple, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
Scoop about two tablespoons coconut butter out of the can of coconut milk. Add to medium saucepan over medium high heat to melt. Once melted, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add salt and curry powder and cook until the color is infused in the onions. Add the black-eyed peas and remaining coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Stir in apple and celery, remove from heat and serve.
Recipe used with permission from Janine MacLachlan, The Rustic Kitchen, www. RusticKitchen.com. All rights reserved.