HAPPY NEW YEARS! MAY 2015 BE ONE OF THE BEST!
By now, I am sure everyone has heard about eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day, but in case you haven’t, here are some very Southern traditional foods said to ensure good fortune and happiness in the New Year.
Collard greens, mustard greens, cabbage, and kale are all said to symbolize money and therefore, are eaten to ensure the coming year is a prosperous one. Greens are a natural when it comes to being seasoned with some type of pork. Since pigs root their noses around in a forward direction, it is said that the inclusion of pork ensures forward movement and progress in life.
Here’s our family version of Collard Greens, AKA “Money Greens.”
2 Small Ham Hocks
1 lb. Hickory-Smoked Bacon, chopped
3/4 Cup Dehydrated Onions
5 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2 Containers Chicken Broth
3 Large Packages of Fresh Collard Greens, washed and prepped
1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 Teaspoons Seasoned Salt
Black Pepper to taste
Crisp bacon in a skillet. Do not remove grease. Add onions, garlic, and seasoned salt; stir around for about another minute and a half or until garlic has gotten slightly brown. (Do not let the garlic burn.) Deglaze the pan with a quarter of the chicken broth. Scrape around the bottom to get the good bits up. Cook for a couple of minutes more. Carefully, pour the pan mixture into a crock-pot. Add all of other ingredients, except for the ham hock. Stir carefully to incorporate. Place the ham hocks in last. Put on the lid and set to low, cooking for 3 hours.
It is common to serve collard greens with cornbread so one can sop up the delicious “pot likker.” Yellow cornbread symbolizes wealth and plenitude, especially if there are actual corn kernels baked into the bread, like in the recipe below:
SWEET SKILLET CORNBREAD
2 Teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Canned Sweet Whole Kernel Corn, drained
1 Cup Whole Milk
1/8 Cup Honey
2 Tablespoons of Melted Butter
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup All -Purpose Flour
1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
Coat a 10” cast-iron skillet with oil and place it in a 400º oven for 10 minutes or until it is good and hot. Combine corn, milk, honey, melted butter, and eggs in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Add the corn mixture to the flour mixture; stir until combined. Do not worry about lumps. Pour batter into the preheated skillet. Place the skillet back into the oven and then bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Black-eyed peas are considered to bring general good luck when eaten on New Year’s Day. It is said that you should eat one pea for every day of the year to ensure that your good luck will last the whole year long. Also, don’t forget to leave a pea in your bowl to symbolically share the good luck with someone else.
1 Pound Bag of Dried Black-Eyed Peas
1 Large White Onion, chopped
1 Large Green Pepper, chopped
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Medium-Sized Smoked Ham Hock or Hog Jowl
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
1 Bay Leaf
1 Cup Long-Grain White Rice
Tabasco, to taste
Sort and wash black-eyed peas. Add the peas to a 6 to 8-quart stockpot. Fill the stockpot with enough water to cover the peas plus two extra inches. Let peas sit in the stockpot overnight. When ready to prepare (the following day), place the stockpot over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Add the onions, green peppers, tomatoes, ham hock/hog jowl, black pepper, seasoned salt, and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Lower heat and simmer 1 hour. Continue cooking until the peas are very soft. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Remove the ham hock/hog jowl from pot, remove the meat from the bone and cartilage, and return the meat to the pot. In a separate pot, cook rice according to package directions. Add the rice to the black-eyed pea mixture; simmer over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes to let the rice soak up the juices. Move off of the heat and let sit for five additional minutes. Offer Tabasco on the side for an additional kick.
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