For more than 20 years, Farmers Bank & Trust Prosper Market President Ray Smith has been cooking his signature black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.
“In college, my roommate and I would cook all the time,” Smith said. “We would make beans and eat on them for a week or two. We would grill chicken or steak. I’ve just always loved cooking and hosting.”
Smith said he wakes up around 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day to begin cooking black-eyed peas for his community. He invites Bank customers, council members, town staff members, local police and fire chiefs, and neighborhood residents to stop by his home to celebrate the new year and take part in the southern tradition.
According to Southern Living, there’s evidence people ate black-eyed peas for luck as early as 500 A.D. While some do partake in the peas for the superstitions, Smith said to him it’s all for fun and bringing people together.
“This year we’re going to have to make it a drive-by event due to all the sickness going around,” he said. “I am disciplined on eating healthy, so I don’t eat many of my peas, but everyone tells me they’re really tasty!”
Smith said he adds or takes away an ingredient each year because he enjoys experimenting with food, but this year he will make his black-eyed peas as follows:
Ray Smith’s New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas
- Place the following in a pot of water and bring to a boil:
3-4 lbs. of black-eyed peas
Leftover ham hock
7-8 Bay leaves
- After the water boils, remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour
- Put the pot back on medium heat, and let it boil while continuing to stir
- Approximately 1 hour before peas are ready, slice 1/4 of an onion and place in the mixture
- Cut up sausage and brown on both sides and place in the mixture and continue cooking
- Some people prefer their peas to be soupy, and some like a thicker texture; when peas have reached the desired consistency, and peas are tender, remove from heat and serve with cornbread
Once you’ve tried out Ray’s New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas, visit him at the Farmers Bank & Trust Prosper, Texas branch located at 750 N. Preston Road. You can also find a Bank location near you HERE.