New Year’s Day is full of traditions and superstitions. Most people make resolutions to improve their life, many which are not kept. Of course, certain dishes figure into these traditions. Black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread and pork are among the dishes that grace many southern New Year’s tables. They represent luck, wealth and moving forward. So this year, why not put a New Orleans twist on your traditional dishes.
Black-eyed Peas is one of the main dishes at a New Year’s table. Black-eyed peas are eaten for luck. When the Union troops raided the Confederate supplies, all they left were the peas and salt pork. So, the southerners considered themselves lucky to have the peas to eat. Here is a New Orleans spin on black-eyed peas, Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya.
Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya
6 sliced Bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 cup Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1/4 cup Celery, chopped
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Ham, diced
1/2 pound Andouille, sliced
3 cups Chicken Stock
2 cans (15 ounce cans) Black-Eyed Peas, undrained
2 cups uncooked Rice
1/4 cup Green Onions, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
1 Bay Leaf
Over medium heat, put the bacon into the bottom of a Dutch oven and sauté until slightly browned. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery; sauté for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the ham and Andouille and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the broth and the black-eyed peas; bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and green onions. Season with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Add the bay leaf and return to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit covered for another 10 minutes before serving.
Greens are a dish that represent wealth for the New Year. Greens are said to symbolize money, specifically folded money. In my family, the traditional green is cabbage. Here is a Creole style cabbage dish.
5 cups Cabbage, chopped
2 tablespoons Butter
1 large Onion, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 can (14.5 ounce) Diced Tomatoes
1 teaspoon Sugar
Creole Seasoning to taste
1 cup extra sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 325℉.
Cook cabbage in boiling salted water for 10 minutes; drain well and place in a pan. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sauté onions and peppers. Add tomatoes with juice, sugar and Creole Seasoning and simmer for 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake about 20 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Pork is another tradition found on New Year’s menus. Pigs root around with their snouts moving in a forward direction. So, pork is eaten to symbolize progress in the New Year. Chickens, who scratch backwards, could be bad luck. You want to move forward not backwards. Here is a dish that gives you a double serving of pork, Andouille Stuffed Pork Loin.
Andouille Stuffed Pork Loin
1 pound Boneless Center-Cut Pork Loin
1 pound Andouille Sausage
1 teaspoon Basil
1 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 cup Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Cane Syrup
10 Pearl Onions
6 Medium Yams, peeled and diced
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Creole Seasoning to taste
Dash of Hot Sauce
Preheat oven to 375℉.
Using a knife, pierce a hole through the loin from end to end. Using your hands, push the Andouille though the center cut. Place the loin in a large roasting pan and season with basil, thyme and garlic. Glaze the loin with cane syrup and garnish with pearl onions and yams. Season to taste with Creole seasoning and hot sauce. Drizzle olive oil over meat, cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for one hour. Slice and serve with onions and yams on the side.
My wife and I wish you a Happy and Blessed New Year. I thank you for welcoming me into your homes and kitchens.