Gray Peas with Bacon and Onions - Gastro Obscura

Prepared Foods

Gray Peas with Bacon and Onions

Finish all your Latvian peas for good luck in the New Year.

On Christmas in Latvia, it’s common to enjoy gray peas cooked in smoked bacon (speck), onion, and salt. In addition to being a hearty, savory dish, the holiday meal has one other benefit: ensuring good luck in the New Year. According to local folklore, gray peas symbolize prosperity and vitality. One Latvian cook notes that if you don’t finish all your peas on Christmas, you might even find yourself crying when the New Year rolls around.

Latvijas lielie pelēkie zirņi (Latvian big gray peas) have earned Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status from the European Union. As this large variety becomes increasingly rare, cooks have started turning to a smaller version of gray peas for their holiday meals. After boiling, the dark gray (sometimes brownish) peas have a soft consistency and mild flavor that tends to take on the savory, rich notes of the bacon and onions.

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Written By
B Bruno