New Year's Black-eyed Peas and Blewits


1 12-ounce package of dried black-eyed peas
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1 cup brown rice
2 tablespoons each butter, olive oil, canola oil
2 cloves elephant garlic (or 2 generous tablespoons minced garlic)
2 medium white onions
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Morton's Nature's Seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder (only if you like extra garlic)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 double-handful sliced Lepista nuda (if you can't find blewits, use portabellos, Macrolepiota procera, or any "meaty" mushrooms you can get your hands on)
3 bay leaves
1 cup "yard herbs"-- (see explanation below)
1 tablespoon grated cheddar cheese


1. Rinse peas and start them soaking (2 or 3 hours or as directed on package).

2. Go out and see what kind of mushrooms you can find. You may want to pick up a package of portabellos from the grocery store on Dec. 31 if you don't feel lucky. On Jan. 1, 1999, I was lucky enough to find three good-sized Lepista nuda and a couple of nice Pluteus cervinus, hence that's what I used in this recipe.

3. Clean and slice mushrooms into 1/2-inch strips. You need a good double-handful (about 4 or 5 cups).

4. Go out to the yard/garden and collect some flavorful herbs and weeds. If you are making this dish in the summer or any time other than New Year's Day, you use whatever you think will be good. For New Year's Day (it was very cold in north Florida), I collected 3 hand-sized tender collard leaves, 3 sprigs of wild dill, a sprig of chocolate mint, a sprig of spearmint, a few leaves of pineapple sage, about a cup of new chickweed sprouts, a couple of whacks of garlic chives, a few wild lettuce leaves, and 3 bay leaves (good ones are hard to find this time of year).

5. Put the bay leaves aside.

6. Wash the herbs and wrap the bundle in the collard leaves.

7. Cut the bundle into 1/4-inch slices and save them in a small bowl.

8. Dice the onions into 1/2-inch pieces and mince the garlic (use a garlic press if you want)

9. Put the butter, olive oil, and canola oil in a medium sized pot over a medium-high heat.

10. When butter is melted, add diced onion.

11. Sauté onions until translucent, then add the garlic and nuts.

12. Drain the peas and add them to the pot.

13. Add rice to the pot.

14. Add enough water to more than cover ingredients (about 4 cups)

15. Add salt, pepper, and other dry seasonings.

16. When mixture starts to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let it cook for 1/2 hour.

17. If liquid gets below surface of the peas, add a cup of water!

18. Add the herbs and bay leaves to the pot and stir.

19. In a separate pan, sauté the mushrooms in a little olive oil until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are just starting to caramelize.

20. Dump the mushrooms into the pea pot and deglaze the sauté pan with a little water. Add that to the pot too, and simmer until peas are soft (about another 1/2 hour).

21. Don't let all of the water boil away, because you do NOT want to burn the peas after you've gone to all this trouble!

Serve with a side of greens (i.e., collards or mustard) and plain, unflavored corn tortilla chips or cornbread. Mmmmm...mmm --YUM!

On New Year's Day, the black-eyed peas are for luck and the greens are for prosperity in the coming year. The cornbread is there because it tastes good with the peas and greens. For beverages, you could drink last night's left-over champagne, but I prefer iced herbal tea sweetened with wild honey.