Monday, December 29, 2014

Cooking for Luck

Image and Recipe from The New York Times
In the South, black eyed peas are a traditional New Year's Day dish that's believed to bring luck and prosperity in the new year.  The tiny beans cook to perfection after an overnight soak,  and they can be prepared with collard greens, ham hock, and a bit of onion for a simple and delicious meal. 

Ready for some good luck in 2015? Try this recipe, courtesy of the New York Times

What You'll Need:
2 lbs. black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
2 lbs. smoked ham hock or slab bacon
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 large onion, peeled and stuck with 2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 lbs collard greens, cut into 1 inch ribbons
1 bunch scallions, cleaned and chopped, for garnish

Directions:
  1. Drain the black-eyed peas and put them in a large Dutch oven. 
  2. Add the ham hock or bacon (cut into 2 inch chunks), cover with 10 cups water, and turn the heat to high. Add salt, onion stuck with cloves, black pepper, and allspice. 
  3. Bring the peas to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Skim away and discard any foam that rises to the surface. 
  4. Simmer for about 1 1/2- 2 hours until the peas are tender, adding water as needed throughout. The liquid should be kept at a level 1 inch above the surface of the beans. 
  5. Turn off the heat, checking the broth for salt and adjusting the seasoning accordingly. 
  6. Remove the meat with a pair of tongs and set aside. 
  7. Heat a large skillet and add garlic, red pepper, and vegetable oil. Add collard greens and stir to coat. Season with salt and 1 cup water, stirring to wilt greens. 
  8. Add the chopped ham to the collards and reduce heat to medium, then cover it with the lid slightly ajar. Cook for about 20 minutes until the greens are soft. 
  9. To serve, put greens and meat into soup bowls, then ladle the black-eyed peas over the top. 
  10. Garnish each bowl with scallions and enjoy the New Year!

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