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Lucky Black Eyed Pea Casserole

Happy New Year!

I first posted this recipe a couple of years ago but I couldn't let another day in the New Year go by without making at least one traditional New Year's Day dish.

I remember my great grandma soaking black eyed peas, marinating pork chops and picking greens in preparation for the annual New Year's Day meal.  These were traditional dishes meant to bring good luck and prosperity all the year through if eaten on January 1st.  I've often shared the story of my great grandmother coming to visit us from November until March.  She lived in West Virginia and the winters were harsh so each winter we drove to West Virginia to pick her up as Fall ended and she stayed with us until her birthday in early March.

She was a lady of few words.  I can't recall every hearing her say "I love you" but I have fond memories of watching her work magic in the kitchen. She was the best cook ever.  

She had a knack for using anything in her pantry to make something homemade and delicious.  A sprinkle of this and a pinch of that and it was almost magical.  

That's how I felt about black eyed peas.  I never liked them... except when my great grandma made them.  She would make hoppin' john and black eyed pea fritters and casserole with any leftover black eyed peas.  I always loved the casserole but it wasn't until a few days ago, when I came across some recipes for black eyed pea casserole that I was reminded of the dish my great grandma used to make every year.  

One particular recipe stood out.  It was a simple recipe:  black eyed peas, cheese, flour, corn meal, and a few other pantry staples.  A recipe really similar to the black eyed pea casserole my great grandma used to make.   What a great way to start the new year by paying homage to my great grandma.

The dish mixes up in one bowl and is really simple to make.
Black Eyed Pea Casserole

Ingredients:
  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar (I used Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar)
  • 1 lb. cooled, cooked, drained sausage
  • 2 cups cooked black eyed peas or 1 can (15-16 oz) black eyed peas
  • 1 can (15-16 oz) corn (I used whole kernel, but you can use creamed corn)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Line baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal and flour
  3. Stir in eggs, milk and vinegar.  Mix well.
  4. Stir in sausage, black eyed peas, corn and cheddar cheese.
  5. Pour into baking dish
  6. Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes.
  7. Cool. Serve.
Freeze leftovers, if any.  Leftovers can be frozen for up to one month.
Maple Brown Sugar Pork Chops and Black Eyed Pea Casserole
Everything mixes in one large bowl.  Starting with the dry ingredients.
You could substitute your favorite store bought cornbread mix for the dry ingredients and the eggs.  
 You can use buttermilk instead of milk and vinegar. 
 We used cheddar cheese but I may try baking this with pepper jack next time.
  2 cups of leftover cooked black eyed peas or you can use 1 can of black eyed peas for the makings of  one very lucky casserole.
 I use whole kernel corn but you can use creamed corn as well.
 Pork is a traditional New Years Day dish believed to bring good luck to those who indulge on New Years Day.  You can use pork sausage in the dish for a lucky start to the new year or turkey sausage works just as well.
 Mix well.
 Love parchment paper.  I used to spray everything with cooking spray until I discovered parchment paper.  Baking win!
 Bake for about 1 hour til set and tada... dinner is served.
 Next time I will top with a dollop of sour cream or salsa.  Yummy!  Salsa would be a great topper for this tasty casserole.

What are some of your favorite "lucky" food traditions?
Have you ever tried Black Eyed Pea Casserole?

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