Every year since I can remember, my mom always helped our family ring in the new year with a hearty “good luck” meal on New Years Day.
She grew up in Minnesota and I grew up in Florida, so I’m not sure where the tradition came from, but it’s become quite popular in Southern culture. I started telling some of my Michigan friends about our tradition and none of them had ever heard of it!
I think it’s time for everyone to be in on this little (not-so) secret.
Here’s a version of what we make on New Years Day to kick off a year of good luck!
Ham & Black Eyed Peas
Pictured above is the leftovers that I thoroughly enjoyed a few days later over wild rice. For our meal on New Years Day, we like to serve the ham and beans on the side, and the recipe that Scott created this year is below!
1 lb dry black eyed peas, soaked overnight
(we normally use dry beans but we used 3 cans this time)
1 1/2 to 2 lb. meaty ham hock – normally use ham hock but we had leftovers (keep whole)
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. kosher salt (2 if using dry beans)
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp. oil
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp red pepper
1 red pepper, chopped
- Soak beans overnight covered by 2 inches of water. Drain and rinse.
- Put peas and ham in a large pot and add enough water to cover beans (about 8-10 cups).
- Bring to a boil, then add remaining ingredients. Throughout cooking, add water as necessary, always keeping liquid level about 1 inch above food surface.
- Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon until beans are tender (approximately 45-60 mins).
- Check broth for salt and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Remove from heat. Mixture should be fairly brothy.
- Transfer ham to cutting board, discard skin and bones, chop, and return to pot.
- Remove bay leaves, and serve with slotted spoon.
This is also a new recipe that was put together by Scott. (Clearly, I was in charge of clean up this round!)
1 lb collard greens
(we prefer fresh but frozen works too, thawed and drained, cut into 2-inch strips)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 slices bacon and/or 1/4 lb smoked ham
1 large sweet onion
- Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add bacon and cook until crisp.
- Remove bacon and crumble, return to pan.
- Add onion and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.
- Add garlic and red pepper, cook until fragrant.
- Add greens and fry until they wilt.
- Pour in chicken broth and add remaining ingredients.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or until greens are tender.
While skillet corn bread is more traditional, we opted for corn bread muffins. Scott brought a box of Famous Dave’s Corn Bread Mix home for us to make and oh my goodness… yes. It was so good. Like, maybe the best cornbread ever.
(Here’s a lightened-up copy cat recipe.)
We also include some kind of rice, and this year’s was a simple few servings of wild rice.
This year, we rounded the plate out with yellow tomatoes. They taste the same as regular (red) grape tomatoes and complimented the flavors of the dinner really well.
So there you have all of the major players of our “good luck” meal we like to make every year. I’d love to hear different versions some of you make, too. Please feel free to share below!
Questions of the Afternoon
• Does your family cook or do anything as a tradition on New Years Day?
• If you like to make a traditional Southern New Years plate similar to what I listed above, what do we do differently? I would love to hear the different variations and ideas out there.
Here’s to a wonderful 2016!