It is the custom in the US South to eat black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day, one for good luck and one for wealth. Some believe that not to eat these dishes will result in the opposite effect, bad luck and poverty.
Our family lived in Louisiana to get into the custom, even though we didn’t really believe the superstition. The habit has persisted even though we have lived outside the South for many years. There must be lots of other former Southern citizens in our Southwest community, because canned and frozen black-eyed peas are always sold out days before New Year’s Eve.
There are many versions of cooked black-eyed peas which qualify as good luck charms the New Year: Hoppin’ John, Texas caviar, black-eyed pea vinaigrette, and plain ol’ Southern black-eyes. The following recipe borrows from all of those classics. Likewise, the cabbage dish is an update of plain old boiled cabbage.
It may be too late for you to get your protection for 2013, but hold onto the recipes for next year. In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Good-Luck Black-Eyed Peas
- 3 strips bacon
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
- water for cooking peas
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
- 3 ounces Canadian bacon, large dice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 or more dashes Tabasco sauce
- Fry the bacon in a small pan over medium heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and transfer the bacon drippings to a heavy-bottomed soup pot.
- Over medium heat, put the chopped onion in the soup pot, cover, and sweat for 5 minutes until translucent and softened
- Add the peas and enough water to completely cover the peas. Bring to the boil and then reduce to the simmer, covered, for 1½ to 2 hours or until the peas are tender.
- Add the bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, and green chiles. Stir in the Canadian bacon. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes more or until the tomatoes are cooked down.
- Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and Tabasco
- Serve in wide-brimmed soup bowls.
Braised Napa Cabbage, Red Onions and Mushrooms with Dilled Greek Yogurt
- 1 small napa cabbage cut in half lengthwise
- 1 medium red onion sliced in thin crosswise rounds
- 6 cremeni mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ cup dry white wine
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup minced dill fronds
- Combine the cabbage, onion, mushrooms, chicken stock, wine, salt, and pepper in an oven-proof covered pan
- Over medium-high flame, bring the pan to a boil, cover, and then transfer to the middle of an oven pre-heated to 250°F
- Braise the vegetables for 60 minutes or until they are tender. Check frequently, and add water if needed
- In the meantime, combine the yogurt and dill in a small bowl. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator while the vegetables are braising to bring out the dill flavor.
- Drain the cooked vegetables and serve with yogurt SAUCE.
If you wish, serve the black-eyed peas with cooked rice, along with cornbread on the side for dipping.