Fleur de Lis

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Year's Meal: Ham, Greens, Black Eyed Peas & Lolly's Cornbread

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful day yesterday with family, friends, lots of good food and maybe some football games! We enjoyed the "must haves" for New Year's Day: ham (or pork), black eyed peas, kale (greens) and cornbread!

The more pork in your meal, the more luck you will have. So don’t just use ham hock and fatback to flavor your veggies; eat a baked ham or pork chops as a main dish.

It's fully cooked and just needs a few hours in the oven to warm through and bring out all the wonderful flavors. Slice it very thin to enjoy all the country ham goodness. 

Greens: collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach, kale......as long as you have greens on the table you will be blessed with green folding money! Well, it's worth a shot, isn't it?

Instead of collard or turnip greens, this year I decided to cook kale with tasso. 

2 - 1 lb. bags of kale
1 cup chopped tasso
salt and pepper to taste
1 t. red wine vinegar
1 t. sugar

In a large Dutch oven, place the kale greens and cover with water. Bring to a boil and add the chopped tasso. Cover and lower to a gentle simmer and stir occasionally.  Add additional water if necessary. When kale is tender (2 - 3 hours of simmering), add the red wine vinegar and sugar. Serve with hot sauce, pepper sauce or chow chow.

Black eyed peas are another true Southern tradition for New Year's day. The practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. At first planted as food for livestock, and later a food staple for slaves in the South, the fields of black-eyed peas were ignored as Sherman's troops destroyed or stole other crops, thereby giving the humble, but nourishing, black-eyed pea an important role as a major food source for surviving Confederates. Of course, you also need a "pone" of cornbread to go alongside.
  • Served with greens (collards, mustard or turnip greens, which varies regionally), the peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. In some areas cabbage is used in place of the greens.
  • Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.
  • For the best chance of luck every day in the year ahead, one must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year's Day.
  • Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent wealth and health.

1 lb. package dried black eyed peas, rinsed and soaked in cold water overnight or at least for a few hours and then drained
1 ham hock or 2 cups of chopped ham or bacon
salt to taste
bacon grease (optional)

Add pre-soaked beans to a large Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that forms on the top. Add ham hock or chopped ham or bacon. Reduce heat to a simmer and let peas cook for several hours stirring occasionally. Stir carefully so as not to crush the peas and turn them to mush. You don't want mushy peas! When peas are cooked, add salt and/or bacon grease to flavor.

And now, my favorite part of any meal.... cornbread!

2 cups of self-rising white cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
2 T. bacon grease
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
In a medium mixing bowl, add cornmeal and then slowly stir in buttermilk until it's well blended.  
Put the bacon grease in a cast iron skillet and heat it over medium heat until a drop of the batter sizzles.
Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until golden brown about 20 - 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest in skillet for a few minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.

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