Every New Year’s Day we do a big Southern Fried Chicken Feast at our house. I wake up early to put the black-eyed peas on the stove and let them stew all day. By the time the kids wake up, I’m ready for them to help me cut the biscuits. It’s become a family tradition that I look forward to every year.

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  • 2 pounds dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 large smoked ham hock, about 1 pound
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 white onion, coarsely grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Leaves from 2 fresh oregano sprigs, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place the peas in a bowl with water to cover by at least 3 inches. Soak the beans at room temperature for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the ham hock in a baking dish and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned all over.

Drain the soaked peas and place in a large heavy pot. Add the chicken or vegetable broth and nestle the roasted ham hock in the center of the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer over low heat, uncovered, until the peas are tender, about 1 hour.

While the peas cook, melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick and reduced, about 30 minutes.

Just before serving, stir the oregano and parsley into the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. If desired, shred the meat from the ham hock and stir into the peas. Add the tomato sauce to the peas, stir to combine, and serve. Serving the peas from the pot they were cooked in is always a nice touch.