Black-eyed peas are a traditional New Year’s dish said to bring good luck and prosperity throughout the coming year. In this version, the smoked paprika and tomato bacon stand in for smoked meat. Adding a pinch of baking soda helps to keep the collards bright green when cooking. Serve the beans and greens on their own, over rice or another grain, or with sweet potato or cornbread. Lemon wedges or a splash of vinegary hot sauce such as Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot Original adds the finishing touch.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 small bunch collards, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped

2 cans (15-ounce each) black-eyed peas, drained, liquid reserved

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Tomato bacon (recipe follows)

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a soup pot, heat the oil and add the onions. Cook for five minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the baking soda, collards, liquid from the peas, soy sauce, and paprika. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the greens are tender.
  3. Add the black-eyed peas and raise the heat to medium. Cook until hot. Add the tomato bacon along with any remaining marinade. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Tomato bacon

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not oil packed), thinly sliced

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons hot water

¼ teaspoon liquid smoke

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are well coated and softened.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.