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— Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is thought to bring prosperity, according to Wikipedia.

These “good luck” traditions supposedly date back to the American Civil War. Union troops typically stripped the countryside of all stored food, crops and livestock, and destroy whatever they couldn’t carry away. At that time, Northerners considered “field peas” and field corn suitable only for animal fodder, and didn’t steal or destroy these humble foods.

Spicy Black-Eyed Peas

From the kitchen of Paula Deen, pauladeen.com

4 slices bacon 1 medium onion, chopped 1 (16 oz.) pkg. dried black-eyed peas, washed 1 (12 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies 1 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. chili powder 1/2 tsp. pepper 1 c. water In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside to use as topping. Saute onion in bacon drippings until tender. Add peas, diced tomatoes and green chilies, salt, chili powder, pepper and water. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until peas are tender. Add additional water if necessary.

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained 1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained 1 (10-ounce) can spicy canned tomatoes, chopped 1 c. each chopped red and green bell pepper 2 to 3 tbsp. chopped fresh jalapeno pepper 1/4 c. chopped yellow onion 1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained Corn chips, for serving Dressing: 1/2 c. red wine vinegar 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 1 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard 1/4 tsp. sugar Pinch dried oregano 1/2 c. olive oil 1/2 c. vegetable oil In a large bowl, combine the black-eyed peas, corn, tomatoes, red, green and jalapeno peppers, onion and pimentos. In a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the wine and balsamic vinegars, salt, pepper, mustard, sugar, oregano and oils. Shake until the ingredients are blended. Add the dressing to the pea mixture and stir gently but thoroughly. Cover, refrigerate until serving time. Subscribers — The TIMES would like to share your recipes. Recipes may be dropped off at our office at 981 N. Curtis Ave., faxed to 451-9456, mailed to P.O. Box 25, Pea Ridge, AR, 72751 or e-mailed to prtnews@nwanews.com.

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