Ham Hocks and Black Eyed Peas with Cornbread are a family tradition on New Year’s Day. My brother and I were told (as Ma’am and her brothers were told and probably generations before were told) that you will earn a dollar in the coming year for every black eyed pea you eat on New Year’s Day. I keep trying but, so far my piggy bank isn’t busting. Ha ha!
Traditional Stove Top Method:
Ma’am and I were discussing the different ways to make this yesterday, because my family likes to talk about food and cooking. As she states in her original recipe, she prefers to use ham shanks when she can find them because they have more meat than the hocks. But they can be hard to find. I happened to find some last week at a small local store, so for Christmas she got her shortbread and a package of ham shanks. In my family that means “I LOVE YOU”!
The stove top method takes 4-5 hours or more if you make the stock and chill it to remove the fat.
I usually use the ham bone leftover from my Christmas dinner and throw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it cook for 6-8 hours on low.
But, today I wanted to try it in my pressure cooker because I haven’t tried cooking beans in the pressure cooker before. I know you folks living in high altitudes are thinking, “How else do you cook beans but to use a pressure cooker?”. Stove top works fine down here at 1500 feet or below.
I figured I could shave a few hours off of the process. It is all hands off time, so it really isn’t saving any work. And if you use dried beans you do have to remember to pre-soak them the night before or you need to do a quick soak method that will take another hour.
The pressure cooker method takes about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours total. Most of that is bringing the stock to pressure initially and waiting the two times for the pressure cooker to release the pressure naturally. I suppose you could throw all of the ingredients in at once, like the slow cooker method, but I wanted the extra flavor from the longer cooking of the stock.
No matter how you cook the beans, traditionally this should be served with cornbread baked in a cast iron skillet.
However you chose to celebrate the New Year, I hope it is a happy and healthy one!
Until next year, happy eating!