Many cultures have their own traditions and superstitions about the New Year. My family is no exception. We eat black eyed peas and cabbage every New Year's Day. The black eyed peas represent health and the cabbage (green) represents wealth. I have never missed out on this tradition. Ever. When my husband took me to New York to visit his family for Christmas and New Years, I searched every market till I found a can of black eyed peas. Then I picked up some cole slaw from a deli. It wasn't the tastiest meal, but I kept up tradition. My Maw Maw Ida would've been proud. She was very superstitious! She even took the first leaf off the head of cabbage and nailed it up over her front door for good luck. So, as you can see, the tradition has been ingrained.
Let me tell you something, cabbage was never my favorite thing to eat. Especially smothered cabbage. My Mama used to cook it all the time and boy did it stink! Me and my brother could smell it from out in the yard. Ugh! However, as I've gotten older, I've found new ways to cook it and actually like it now. It's even great just shredded on tacos or on top of a pulled pork sandwich.
Black eyed peas, on the other hand, are one of my favorites. Especially when my Mama cooked them with the ham bone left over from Christmas dinner. The sweetness of the ham with the earthiness of the peas...just so good!
Here are a few recipes you can make on New Years Day:
You've probably heard of stuffed cabbage. It's ground beef and seasonings rolled up in cabbage leaves and baked in a tomato based sauce. This recipe gives you all the flavors of stuffed cabbage without all the stuffing and rolling. It just simmers together in a pot. Easy!
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp pepper
1 small head cabbage, shredded
Brown ground beef. Drain. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add stewed tomatoes & tomato paste and stir to break up. Stir in water, parsley, salt, oregano, sugar & pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Add half cabbage and cook, covered 5 minutes. Add remaining cabbage and simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
If you cook a ham for Christmas, save the bone. Put it in a large freezer bag and freeze it. Take it out a few days before New Years to thaw and use it to make your black eyed peas. It gives them such a good flavor! If you don't have a ham bone you can buy ham steaks and dice them up or even use bacon. Bacon will give the peas a smoky flavor, while ham gives them a salty sweetness. Your call.
BLACK EYED PEAS
1 lb dried black eyed peas
ham bone (or bacon, or diced ham)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
cajun seasoning (or salt and pepper)
chicken broth (enough to cover the peas)
The night before you want to cook these, soak the peas in a big bowl of water. The next day, drain and rinse them. Put them in a slow cooker. Add ham bone (or chopped bacon or ham), onion, garlic. Add enough broth to just cover the peas. If you add too much, they won't be creamy. Season to taste with cajun seasoning. Put on the lid and cook on high for about 4 hours. Don't take off the lid or stir or anything during this time. After 4 hours, remove lid and stir. Smash some of the peas against the side of the slow cooker. Then, stir. Do this several times. This will help the peas get creamy. Put the lid back on and let cook for another hour. Remove the ham bone. Serve with rice, if desired.
So, try these recipes on New Year's Day. I hope they bring you health and wealth for 2013 and beyond. Happy New Year!