Black-eyed pea cakes because we need all the luck we can use

Black-eyed pea cakesSo that’s it for 2016, a year that we couldn’t possibly sum up any better than Charlie Brooker did. (Do watch it: it will be the best hour you spend today.) That particular annus horribilis had shaken Michelle’s belief in the power of New Year’s Day black-eyed peas and greens, which, here in the South, supposedly ensure luck in the coming year.

Black-eyed peas found at yesterday’s winter farmers’ market. We had to buy them. Why risk it?

Reflecting on the challenges ahead for ourselves, American democracy and the future of our planet, Michelle realized that even the smallest chance for increased luck wouldn’t be such a bad gamble. These pea cakes adapted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table blend cornbread and cooked peas with chili, chives, egg and a few other things into a beautifully firm starchy addition to eggs and the beloved greens recipe from the New York Times that we’ve used for years.

Black-eyed pea cakes

Given the odd and upsetting events of last year, and our failure to anticipate the rise of revanchism, Gourmandistan makes no effort to anticipate what may lie ahead in 2017. We merely wish everyone in our sphere the best of luck. We’re pretty sure we’re all going to need some.


(adapted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: Recipes and Gracious Traditions from Highlands Bar and Grill)

  • 2 c. cooked black-eyed peas, some cooking broth reserved
  • 1 c. crumbled cornbread, or a bit more (this is the recipe we always use)
  • 2 TB chopped chives
  • 1 small hot pepper, thinly sliced (we used a Thai red chili)
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB flour, and some extra for dredging
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Purée 3/4 cup of the peas with 1/4 cup of cooking broth in a blender until smooth. Pour into a bowl with remaining 1-1/4 cup whole peas and the rest of the ingredients other than the vegetable oil. Add more cornbread if too wet, more broth if too dry. Form into 8 flattened cakes. Place cakes on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Dredge the cakes lightly in some seasoned flour. Cook in a generously oiled skillet over medium-high heat, turning once, until cakes are browned on both sides. Drain on a paper towel.


  1. These look delicious! We do need all the luck we can get, especially when the nation of gourmandistan might be affected. I like the use of peppers here with the peas. It’s like a potato latka but without the potato. Happy new year to you both!

  2. Eha

    Thanks for the Charlie Brooker link : shamefully must admit to prior ignorance but 2 mins watching has convinced me I can shelve an hour off work this pm to sit and share and no doubt ‘use language’ ! Since just about everyone I know or ‘know’ has deemed 2016 an annnus horribilis with shivers up one’s spine for the one just started, I really would love to be able to explain to myself as to how what happen could possibly do so . . . That said, may peace, health and contentment reign in Gourmandistan and these cakes will be tried soonest, 41 C temps notwithstanding . . .

  3. Dear Steve and Michelle, in the face of the dispiriting challenges the world’s future holds for us, it’s these human connections – however small and far away – which become so important.

    Wishing you kindness, happiness, and health (and some lucky black-eyed pea fairy dust!) for 2017.


  4. Yes, we should take our good luck anywhere and everywhere we can find it! But I expect it’ll take more than luck–gotta get ready for the good fight! Happy New Year, Gourmandistan–may we live in interesting times!

  5. Yes, we’ll need all of the good luck we can get, no doubt about it. Even so, I do have dual-citizenship and an escape to San Marino is always a possibility. Perhaps, once there, I could petition the government to recognize Gourmandistan. Could an embassy be far behind?
    Wishing you both the best of everything in 2017!

    • Sounds like a plan, John! Steve actually is entitled to Italian citizenship through his grandfather and started the process years ago but then quit when it got expensive. We may have to save up and meet you in the boot, one way or another! Happy new year to you, too. It’s gonna be a doozy.

    • Eha

      Sugar, John . . . never took up my dual with Estonia: silly me!! ‘Escaping’ to Estonia just may not be the wisest move on the planet anyways: ‘they’ will get there before me!!!!:) !! A dear friend, as you may have seen , said ‘bon courage’ – do all of us need that . . . ?

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