Saturday, December 31, 2011

Southern Collard Greens for "Luck" in 2012!

With 2012 less than 24 hours away, I thought it would be fun to write a post about traditional, lucky foods associated with the New Years holiday.  What are you cooking to celebrate the new year?  

One staple around our house is collard greens.  This recipe is very special to me, because it was my GrannyRene's recipe.  I'll always cherish this handwritten copy that she gave me:

Here's a list of "lucky" foods for the new year!

- Grapes:  In Spain, it's a tradition to eat 12 grapes at grape for each stroke of the clock.  The saying goes that if you are able to swallow all 12 before the last stroke of midnight, you are sure to have a prosperous year.

- Cooked Greens:  Greens such as kale, collards, cabbage and chard are eaten at New Years because their leaves resemble folded money.  This makes them symbolic for economic fortune.

- Lentils:  In Italy, lentils are a traditional new years food (eaten for good fortune) because they are thought to resemble tiny coins. 

- Black-Eyed Peas:  These are a common good luck food, especially in the southern USA, because they also resemble tiny coins (like lentils).  They are thought to bring prosperity.

Pork:  The high fat content of pork symbolizes wealth and prosperity in the coming year.  Pigs also symbolize progress, because the animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving forward.

Fish:  Since fish swim forward, many people associate fish with moving forward into the new year.  Others believe that fish are symbolic for abundance since they swim in schools.

Look at this beautiful bundle of collards!

Southern Collards Greens
Source:  Lorene Gainous

1 2lb. bag cut up collard greens (or 1 to 2 large bunches of fresh collards)
1 package cured ham steaks (or 5 slices bacon, cut into lardons)
3 small turnip roots, peeled and cut into cubes
Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Olive Oil, as desired

Put cut up ham steaks (or lardons) and washed, cut up collards in a heavy pot.  Add the turnip root.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  As soon as water starts to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until collards and meat are tender.

***NOTE:  If you are starting with whole, fresh collards, first wash them thoroughly.  Next, fold each collard in half and remove the tough stem in the center of each leaf.  Cut the prepared collards into 1-inch wide strips.***

As collards become tender, you can let the liquid cook down, so as to have a small amount in your collards if you want it.  Add the salt, pepper and olive oil to taste.

Cooking time for collards and ham should be about 2 hours.

Serve with cornbread muffins.



soma sengupta said...

Great post. Thanks!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I've got my green and black eyed peas on...
Happy New Year!