05 January 2011

Feeling lucky

Did you eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day? I did. It's a tradition, and a superstition. Eating black-eyed peas on January 1 brings you good luck for the whole year.

Luckily, black-eyed peas are available in the supermarkets here in Saint-Aignan. I got a one-kilogram bag of dried black-eyes at Intermarché. They put them in the imported food section. They are imported from Portugal. I think they might actually be grown in the U.S.A. Oh, and in French they are called cornilles [kor-NEE-yuh]. Here's a link to a brief Wikipedia article in French.

Black-eyed peas with turkey confit and Montbéliard sausages

There are quite a few Portuguese people living in the Saint-Aignan area. SuperU has an annual semaine portugaise — a week when Portuguese products are on special sale. Evidently, black-eyed peas are appreciated in Portugal and in Brazil, as they are in the U.S. South. Portugal had colonies in Africa, and that's where black-eyed peas came from originally.

Confit de dinde — turkey leg and thigh sections, with
the turkey heart and gizzard, cooked slowly in
duck fat for two or three hours and then drained

We cook our black-eyed peas with smoked Montbéliard sausages from eastern France, and we season them with duck fat and vegetables including celery, onion, and carrots. This year, I made confit de dinde — turkey leg-thigh sections slow-cooked in duck fat until the meat is very tender and cooked to the point of falling off the bone. That turkey meat went well with the black-eyed peas too.

Black-eyed peas have a distinctive, pleasant taste compared to all the other dried beans — cocos blancs (navy or great northern beans), cocos roses (pinto beans), lingots blancs (canellini beans), and haricots rouges (kidney beans). You can use all of them in soups and salads, though, or eat them as beans the way we did, with or without accompanying meats.


  1. Yum, yum, yum, yum, even though I have dinner in front of me, that looks pretty tasty

  2. Hi Kirstie, nice to hear from you. Hope you aren't affected by the flooding in Queensland right now.

  3. Hi Ken, I came across your blog a few weeks ago, I'm not really into blogging but I faithfully read yours every day as I love your recipes and photos. I also love all your little snippets of information on the region,the markets, the people, it's such a pleasure to read.

    Patricia Steele (Cumbernauld,Scotland

  4. Black-eyed peas are called Lobhia in Indian cookery - there are or were a lot of Indians in east Africa. If you Google "Blackeyed beans and mushrooms" you get a stack of versions of a recipe for Lobhia aur khumbi from the Madhur Jaffrey Illustrated Indian cookbook. Many thanks - I'll look out for cornilles next time we go to a supermarket - it's one of my favourites! Funny how the book opens at that page.

  5. Je n'ai jamais gouté ces cornilles. Je ne connaissais même pas le nom. Mais sur la photo, ils sont très appétissant.

  6. For some reason, I just really enjoy the fact that you like so many kinds of beans, and know so much about them, Ken :)) These posts are always interesting to read.


  7. Nothing interesting to say.

    Word verification is phesses. New spelling for an old word! LOL

  8. Oh we had our black-eyed peas on January 1st....can't start the new year with out them.

    Victoria, Bellingham, WA

  9. Yum! I love black-eyed peas, but bagna caôda is the tradition in our family for New Year... hot bath of butter, oil, garlic, and anchovies; spear raw veggie chunks and swirl in the bath; hold veggie chunk over a piece of crusty bread on the way to your mouth... bread gets soaked... yum!

  10. No black-eyed peas for us this year. Robb usually insists on it, but as you know, he wasn't feeling all that well this year. Maybe next year.


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