Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Years Day Supper

My mom always talked about how she used to eat black-eyed peas on New Years for good luck, although in my 28 years of life I do not recall her ever making them for us.  Although she grew up in Columbus, Ohio, her father was from Florida and I've always sensed there was something more southern about her upbringing than her location let on (example # 2, she LOVES okra). 

So this year I wanted to try out the old southern custom of black-eyed peas and collard greens for New Years Day.  The crazy thing was - when I checked wikipedia to give a source for this being a meal of good luck, it said the southern custom actually found its roots in Judaism!  How crazy is that?  Obviously, the non-Jews of the south were the folks to add the component of pork to the dish.  And since we had a ham hock in the fridge just waiting to turn something into deliciousness, that's where I started.

I soaked the black-eyed peas the whole day (8 hours), then added them to a pot with the ham hock, a shallot cut in half and some kombu seaweed.  The seaweed not only adds flavor, but is said to cut down on the gas you might experience as a result of eating the beans.  Brought to a boil, then simmered away for about 45 minutes.  In another pot, I boiled water and vegetable stock, and slowly added thinly cut strips of collard greens (probably 2 lbs before I cut out all the stems).  Once they were all in and beginning to wilt, I added 2 cups of diced ham, one diced onion, and some garlic puree.  That was on the heat for 35-40 minutes. 

To top it all off, I made cornbread in our cast iron skillet (although I must not have realized how large our skillet was, since the batter hardly reached the sides of the pan!)  I added hot sauce to my greens AND beans, and everything came out fantastic.  May this New Year bring much luck and yumminess!

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