The holiday week, that week between Christmas and New Year is when we put away things from the old year and prepare for the new year. It is also a time of reflection, a time of planning, and a time of change.
This year I am quite grateful for family, extended family, and friends, (new and old). May we all prosper, and just to make sure, I’m taking a few extra precautions and creating a classic Southen New Year’s day meal. (Just for luck.)
For my New Years’ feast, I’ll fall back to a menu that has been part of my family for generations. A simple meal of Blackeyed peas, Collards, Cornbread, and Baked Ham. All of which have traditions of providing prosperity and good luck in the coming year.
We will not mention that the rich food will help one recover from any over-indulgences from the night prior.
Lucky New Year food
In the Southern United States, eating black-eyed peas or Hoppin’ John (a traditional soul food) on New Year’s Day is thought to bring prosperity in the new year. The peas are typically cooked with a pork product for flavoring (such as bacon, fatback, ham bones, or hog jowls) and diced onion, and served with a hot chili sauce or a pepper-flavored vinegar. The traditional meal also includes cabbage, collard, turnip, or mustard greens, and ham. The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion.Cornbread, which represents gold, also often accompanies this meal.
For the Blackeyed Peas:
In this specific case, I’ll use the Ham bone from the baked ham.
Black Eyed Peas for New Years
- Dutch Oven
- 4 slices Bacon Thick Cut
- 4 cups Black Eyed Peas Picked, Washed, Soaked
- 1 ea Onion Peeled Diced
- 4 ribs Celery Washed, diced
- 1 ea Green Bell Pepper Washed, cored, diced
- 3 cloves Garlic Peeled, minced
- 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme Washed Chopped
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne
- 1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 4 cups Chicken Stock Low Sodium (to cover)
- Fry off the bacon in the dutch oven, medium high, ~10 minutes, remove / reserve
- Add trinity (onion, celery, bell pepper) and cook until onions are soft and translucent
- Add thyme, garlic black pepper, cayenne, stir until fragrant ~ 1 minute
- Add peas and stock to cover, bring to a boil, thence reduce heat to medium low and simmer until peas are tender.
- Serve over rice or cornbread.
For the cornbread:
- 1 cup Corn Meal Yellow, of course
- 1 cup AP Flour
- 1 cup Milk Sweet or buttermilk, whole full fat.
- 4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt Kosher, of course
- 1 ea Egg Free Range, Large or better
- 1/4 cup Oil Vegetable, Canola or taste free
- 1/2 Large Sweet Onion Peeled and Diced
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper Large, washed, seeded, stemmed, diced
- Preheat oven to 425 F . Place 9-inch cast-iron skillet in oven to warm it.
- Mix corn meal and mix in large bowl; Let rest for 5 minutes
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into corn meal mixture. Mix onion, jalapeno, and eggs into the corn meal mixture until you have a smooth batter, about 1 minute. Let rest 5 minutes
- Remove skillet and oil, or use butter for more flavor; Pour batter into skillet
- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven, turn out and slice into wedges. Serve as a side to chili, beans, or just with butter
For the Collards:
- 4-6 Slices Bacon Thick Cut, cut to 1/2" pieces
- 1 ea Onion Peeled, diced
- 2 cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Vinegar Apple Cider is great here
- 2 lb Collard Greens Washed, Stemmed, Sliced to 1/8"
- 2 tbsp Sugar Optional
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
- Hot Sauce To taste
- Add the bacon to a large skillet over medium heat, and cook until it begins to brown around the edges, stirring occasionally.
- Add the onion and cook until it's softened and starting to take color.
- Add the garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, and hot sauce.
- Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the vinegar and simmer. We are reducing by half and scraping the bottom of the skillet.
- Add the collard greens and the chicken stock.
- Return to a simmer. Reduce the temperature to medium-low.
- Cook, occasionally stirring, until the collard greens have wilted.
- Taste, Season, and balance the flavor, adding vinegar and hot sauce as desired.
- Serve with pot liquor (sauce) from the pan.
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