Black Eyed Peas with Peppers and Spinach

Black Eyed Peas
Black Eyed Peas

How does good luck and prosperity sound to you? Well, if you don’t eat black eyed Peas on New Year’s Day, you may be out of luck! That may not be completely true, but this Southern tradition has been around since the days of the American Civil War. Feel free to research, but they have even been associated with good luck as far back as the sixth century AD.

Variations on the Traditional Version

Often, black eyed peas are served with some sort of greens and with cornbread. The peas represent coins, the greens paper money, and the cornbread gold. There are many different preparations of black eyed peas, including Hoppin’ John, which includes rice and is often a New Year’s Eve dish. Sometimes tomatoes are added to the pot of peas symbolizing health, as well.

No matter how you choose to associate this dish with the New Year is totally up to you. It is delicious and deserves some more attention. Whatever preparation you choose, you can rest assured, hundreds of thousands of people across the country will have them on New Year’s Day!

Black Eyed Peas
Black Eyed Peas with Peppers and Spinach

Our Version of Black Eyed Peas

So, here’s what we do. Our version is simple, but amazing. In our humble opinions, of course!

We like to get the liquid going without the peas for a while so that when the dish is complete, the ham hock is super-tender and falling off the bone. This smoky addition is a perfect pairing with the peas. 

This dish will have plenty of liquid, so it can be served that way or served with a slotted spoon so there is very little liquid. This is a personal preference, but if you have cornbread, it is nice to dunk it in the cooking liquid. If you wanted it to be more of a thickened soup/stew, you could remove some peas at the end, blend them and add them back into the pot as a thickener.

Fresh, frozen or canned black-eyed peas?

Fresh ones are just better, so try and find them. In the southern states, fresh black-eyed peas are very common to see in stores beginning in October or November, but they may be challenging to find across the country, or outside of the US.

Can you use frozen black-eyed peas? Yes, you can! Just take them out of the freezer at the beginning so you’re not putting a bunch of ice-cold peas into your simmering liquid. They don’t have to be room temperature, but defrost them some so you can get the pot back up to a boil a bit quicker.

Can you use canned black-eyed peas? Well, you can, but NOT in this recipe. They will turn to mush. Don’t do it, or go back to the googs and search for a different recipe that uses the canned peas.


We hope you enjoy this recipe for Black Eyed Peas! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Black Eyed Peas
Black Eyed Peas

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Black Eyed Peas

0 from 0 votes
Course: Side Dishes, SoupsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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  • 1 Tbsp 1 olive oil

  • 1 Medium 1 onion – medium diced

  • 1 whole 1 red or yellow bell pepper – medium diced

  • 2 cloves 2 garlic – minced

  • 4 cups 4 chicken stock

  • 2 cups 2 water

  • 1 1 smoked ham hock (16-20oz)

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 cayenne pepper

  • 2 tsp 2 black pepper

  • 24 oz. 24 fresh black-eyed peas

  • 12 oz 12 fresh spinach

  • 1 Tbsp 1 kosher salt

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Louisiana hot sauce


  • In a Dutch oven or pot large enough to hold everything, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Then add the stock, water, ham hock, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Let the mixture cook for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, add the black-eyed peas and stir to incorporate. Bring the mixture back to a boil, then reduce again to a simmer. Cook for about an hour and then add the spinach, salt, and hot sauce and stir. Continue to simmer until the peas are tender, about 10-15 more minutes. Taste for doneness – the black-eyed peas should have some texture without being hard and should not be mushy. Check the seasoning and correct if necessary.
  • Serve with cornbread and extra hot sauce, if desired.

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