There is a new year's tradition that calls for eating black-eyed peas on the first day of the year to bring good luck, so that's what we had. They are a really great legume (is there a way to say that without sounding hopelessly dorky?), especially if you are committed to using dried beans rather than canned. Chickpeas take about a million years to cook, even if you soak them. Pinto beans, black beans, great northerns--most dried beans just don't really lend themselves to spontaneous production, hence, of course, the popularity of canned beans. But black-eyed peas? They cook very quickly, sometimes in just 25 minutes or so, without any soaking at all. They are nature's lentils and they are delicious.
Covered at least one cup of black-eyed peas in water and brought to a healthy boil with 2 crumbled bay leaves, 4 cloves sliced garlic, 2 teaspoons each of red pepper flakes and epazote, and a teeny pinch of cumin. Let boil hard for about 25 minutes and tested to see if they were approaching doneness, was pleasantly surprised to find that they were and drained them off. Salted and peppered them, then added butter and about 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar. In another pot I was cooking pearl couscous in way too much chicken broth (don't know how that happened, it was weird) and so drained the excess couscous liquid into the bean pot. Turned the heat back on and let the beans absorb most of the liquid, so they became sort of soupy, full-flavored and fabulously chickeny.
These were excellent along with cornbread, steamed kohlrabi and the aforementioned couscous. Happy New Year!