Happy New Years! Well, it’s technically the second of January, but it’s the first day after new years day. So I’m close. Today everyone will be starting on their new years resolutions and getting excited for the year to come. This past year has been a challenging one for me, but with the downs, came many ups as well. I’m excited to see what 2015 brings, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a good year.
I am superstitious, and I have been for as long as I can remember. When I was swimming, before every big race in junior high/high school, I would listen to the same psych up song: Right Now by Van Halen. I’m singing it in my head as I’m writing this. The keyboard, the drums, that beat…What a great song. Sorry, I digress, back to superstitions. I’m not from the south, and I’ve never even lived there. New England, the Mid West, the Pacific Northwest and the Mid Atlantic. I’ve lived in several places, but for some reason, I’ve chosen a traditional southern dish as our new years tradition.
I’ve been making black eyed pea gumbo for at least the past 7 years. It might not be the traditional way of making it, but I think it’s delicious, it warms the soul and is healthy to boot. Here’s a small write up of why black eyed pea gumbo is a good luck superstition. This is from the Houston Press:
“White Southerners trace the custom of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day to the Civil War, when the residents of Confederate Vicksburg were sustained during a blockade by the food they previously considered cow fodder. But black-eyed peas came to the New World from Africa, where their spiritual significance goes back much further.
Black-eyed peas are a favored food of the river goddess Oshun, the mistress of abundance and passion in the African Yoruba and New World Santeria religions. We summon the goddess and her blessings when we serve her favorite food.”
So there you go, black eyed peas are good luck. I’m not sure I’d call them cow fodder, I think they are delicious. Here’s why they are healthy:
Black eyed peas are not actually peas, but beans. Beans are chock full of:
- Healthy carbs/complex carbs
- Plant based protein
- Vitamin K
- Several B Vitamins-Thiamin and Folate
- Low in fat
In addition to the black eyed peas, this gumbo contains multiple veggies (onion, pepper, celery, okra, tomatoes), brown rice and a natural/nitrate free/lower in fat andouille sausage. Plus a nice spice kick with some creole seasoning. This is a very easy to make meal, and feel free to make some homemade corn bread to serve with it. Preferably make your own, as you can dictate the amount of sugar or “other” ingredients used. It also makes quite a lot, so prepare yourself and the family for leftovers, or freeze some for later use.
This can be made vegetarian by leaving out the sausage and substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth. The gumbo will still be delicious without the meat. It is also naturally gluten free, just double check the creole seasoning you use.
Black Eyed Peas Gumbo, (Serves 8)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cups of frozen okra/or fresh, frozen is just what’s available for me in Maryland
3x 15oz cans of black eyed peas, rinsed and drained- or 5 cups of dried beans cooked
2x 14oz cans of no salt added diced tomatoes, drained or 1x can of diced tomatoes and 1x can rotel (more spice)
1 cup dry brown rice
2 cups of lower sodium chicken broth
4 cups of water
12oz Aidells andouille sausage, sliced- you can use another brand, although this is a nitrate free/no hormones brand
1-2 tsp creole seasoning-depending on how spicy you’d like it
black pepper to taste
- Swirl one tbsp olive oil in a large stock pot heat over medium
- Saute garlic, onion, green pepper and celery for 5 minutes
- Add okra, black eyed peas, tomatoes, brown rice, chicken broth and water. Raise heat to high till the mixture starts to boil. Add in the sausage if using, cover the pot, and reduce heat to medium low.
- Cook for 30-40 minutes or until the rice and vegetables are tender.
- Add in the spices starting a little at a time until you reach the desired taste (hint: spices magnify in flavor as they are cooked, so add them at the end, or near the end)
Makes 16 cups, so each serving is 2 cups of gumbo
Nutrition per serving:
- 55g carb
- 8g fat
- 24g protein
- 14g fiber