Guest Column: Black Eyed Pea Cakes

Black Eyed Pea Cakes
By Kathy T.

First, my thanks to Ivy and Lola for inviting me to write a guest column. Of course I steer away from any city-related posts in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest, but I’m excited to share a New Year’s Day recipe instead!  I only cooked it because Ivy made the suggestion and it sounded pretty good.  She found a recipe at Publix, but the one I used originated with Paula Deen. Here is her ingredient list with my suggested corrections:

3 cup left over cooked black eyed peas 1-2 cups of canned black eyed peas
1/2 cup cooked, chopped bacon  6-8 slices of microwaved bacon, chopped
1/3 cup roasted red peppers  1/2 red pepper (roasted in oven for ~30 minutes)
All purpose flour, enough to bind patties
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Her original recipe was supposed to make four patties and I made about 12-14, so clearly the “3 cup” was a typo.

I drained* the black eyed peas and began smashing them.  Add the chopped bacon and chopped peppers and mix.  It was still pretty runny, so I began adding flour until it was more firm and binding. I gave up getting it thick enough to hand-pat, so after about 3/4 cup of flour (remember, I was using the 3 cups as called for by Paula Deen so it took a lot), I threw in the towel and started cooking.

I poured the leftover bacon grease into the skillet and added a teaspoon of butter.  The temperature was set on medium-high.  I spooned out the mixture …

Black Eyed Pea Cakes - 1

(See how it’s still a little gooey? I didn’t want to touch that stuff with my hands!)  I then added a sprinkle of flour to the top so I could mash down without the goop sticking to my spatula.

Black Eyed Pea Cakes - 2

I know they look pretty disgusting here, but they get better.  You then cook until both sides are crispy. Done!

Black Eyed Pea Cakes - 3

They were surprisingly great, even if they did look like salmon patties (ugh!).

Black Eyed Pea Cakes - 4

Eating black eyed peas and turnip greens is a Southern tradition, so you won’t see me bucking what’s best and inviting bad luck!  Because black eyed peas were considered suitable only for animals by Northern soldiers in the Civil War, so by eating them it showed proper humility.  “Eat poor on New Year’s, and eat fat the rest of the year.”  The green in the turnip greens, collard greens, spinach, etc. represents monetary gain in the coming year.   Finally, the ham (or pork chops, etc.) is because pigs root forward when foraging, so the pork represents positive motion.

So there you have it!  I sincerely hope everyone has a wonderful New Year.  I hope our city and residents find much happiness in 2013!

*thanks for the tip, Ives.

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