A steaming bowl of this thick stew is said to bring luck for the coming year, but you don't need to relegate this dish to a New Year's menu. Smoky ham and vegetables enhance simple black-eyed peas and rice. Note that the black-eyed peas need to be soaked for at least 6 hours ahead of time.
Rinse black-eyed peas and soak in water to cover for 6 hours or overnight. Drain peas and transfer to a large soup pot. Add 6 cups of water, onion, ham shank and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until peas are tender but still whole, about 45 minutes. Add rice, green pepper, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. If desired, season with red chile pepper hot sauce. Remove ham shank before serving.
Per Serving:170 calories (30 from fat), 3.5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 151mg cholesterol, 580mg sodium, 23g carbohydrates, (5 g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 12g protein.
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