Health, wealth and luck for the 2014, bring it on. Ring in New Year’s Day with the requisite supper of black-eyed peas and collards, a Southern tradition that dates back to the Civil War.
The idea is that black-eyed peas symbolize good luck and fortune, and collard greens represent money and wealth. I wouldn’t call it superstition, but just to be safe, I’m making black-eyed peas and collards for dinner.
Because tradition calls for some sort of pork, like bacon or ham, symbolizing a healthy year, this ripens an interesting discussion, especially for vegetarians. Everything I know says the more healthful route is to skip the pork, so I go with what feels best. I create the intention for a vibrant and fit healthy body and mix in chunks of pretend pork, sausage flavor.
When I don’t have a lot of time, I open a can of black-eyes. A can of beans, a can of tomatoes, some fake sausage, and a punch of spice and frozen collards–easy-peasy. (I shopped so late one New Year’s Eve there were no fresh collards to be found. Lucky for my money the frozen section bore chopped collard greens in a box.)
Hot cornbread or muffins go well alongside seasoned greens and beans. (There is a moist and flavorful cornbread recipe in Chocolate Snowball cookbook.) Stir some rice into the pot and you have Hoppin’ John, another Southern US original. Or serve on top of steamed brown rice.
I send a rampage of appreciation to all my readers. Wishing you a healthy, wealthy and lucky 2014. It’s going to be an awesome year!
- 2 cups black-eyed peas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes or diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 1 teaspoon Real Salt
- 8 ounces imitation “sausage”
- 1 bunch (about 12 ounces) fresh collard greens, stems removed and discarded
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Rinse the beans and put them in a bowl, covering them amply with cold water. Let soak at least 6 hours or ideally, overnight. (If you use a pressure cooker, you can skip this step.)
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion and celery; cook and stir until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook the vegetables a few more minutes.
- Rinse the black-eyed peas and add them to the pot, along with the water, bay leaves, oregano and red pepper flakes. The water should just cover the beans. Bring to a boil; reduce to a slow simmer and cover. Cook two hours or so, topping with water as needed, until the beans are tender to a bite.
- (Alternatively, using a pressure cooker, cook 11 minutes under pressure, remove from heat and allow pressure to release naturally.)
- Meanwhile heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a skillet. Cook the imitation sausage, breaking it into chunks with a spoon, until the “meat” is brown on several sides. Set aside.
- Stack the collard leaves one on top of the other and roll into a tube shape. Slice ¼-inch thick into ribbons. Or simply chop into one-inch square pieces.
- When the beans are tender, bring a second pot of water to boil, add a pinch of salt and the collard ribbons.
- Cook 5 to 10 minutes, until the greens are tender. Drain and stir into the beans. Stir in the reserved “sausage”, salt and apple cider vinegar. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.