I think we could all use some few extra cents in our pocket this New Years. Yes, cents is nice but maybe you just want straight green bills instead? Well I have a solution for you.
According to southern tradition, eating black eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day will bring money and fortune in the upcoming year. I guess there are few different explanations of why this is. Black eyed peas are really a very cheap meal. A bag of beans costs just under $2.00 and typically you would add whatever leftover meat you have sitting around – ham, sausage, chicken, beef roast etc. The idea is you eat poor for New Years, then eat fat the rest of the year.
Another idea is that black eyed peas resemble pennies – hence the “coins” – and the collard greens resemble green money – hence the “dollars”. Maybe people add cornbread to signify “gold”.
Whatever your feeling is on the significance of the peas and greens, they taste yummy and are good all year round. If you have ever had Red Beans and Rice, the Black Eyed Peas have the same consistency as the red beans. They get nice and thick and creamy the day after you cook them. I like to think of it as southern chili, because you want a nice big hot bowl of it on a chilly day.
The collard greens are delicious too. They are a little bitterer then say, spinach, but the bacon makes up for it. They cook for an hour to get tender but still hold up in a good bite. This meal takes patience, but if you put it on early in the day then go play with your Christmas presents a bit, you’ll have an easy meal ready for dinner. My thought is if I can ‘eat fat’ all year after eating this comfort food dish on New Year’s Day, I’m going to do it!
- 1 pound dried black eyed peas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 14 ounces sausage (I used beef kielbasa), chopped
- 2 ham hocks
- 2 bunches collard greens, washed, stems removed and chopped
- 5 strips of bacon, chopped
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- Soak the beans in a big bowl of water overnight. Drain before you are ready to cook.
- In a large soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, pepper and garlic, sautéing until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add peas, bay leaves, old bay, cayenne pepper, sausage and ham hocks to the pot. Pour in water until it just covers everything.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat until just simmering, for 2 to 3 hours or until thick and creamy. Serve with the collard greens.
- In a large sauté pan with a lid, cook the bacon pieces until crispy. Add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add the collard greens and toss to cover with the bacon fat. Turn down the heat to low medium and cook for an hour until tender.