There are at least as many beliefs about how to bring yourself luck on New Year’s Day as there are cultures in the world, and many of these traditions involve food. According to epicurious.com, the most commonly referenced auspicious foods are grapes, cooked greens, legumes, pork, fish, and sweets, particularly cakes. Lobster and winged fowl, particularly chicken, are considered unlucky.
In my part of the U.S., the usual New Year’s meal is pork cooked with sauerkraut. Since I’m vegetarian, I’m offering an alternative that makes use of two of the foods on epicurious.com’s list: cooked greens and legumes. I came up with this recipe during a very brief relationship with a man from the South, where blackeyed peas and collard greens are common fare on New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Day Lucky Stew
2 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas (or equivalent amount cooked dried black-eyed peas)
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped greens (collard, mustard, turnip, kale, chard, or spinach; can use fresh but you’ll need to use a *lot*, as they shrink during cooking)
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (can substitute diced stewed tomatoes for one or both)
any other vegetables you like, diced (onion, celery and bell pepper would all be good)
water or vegetable stock
Liquid Smoke to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
Drain the cans of black-eyed peas; *don’t* drain the cans of tomatoes. Put black-eyed peas, tomatoes with juice, greens, and vegetables in large Crock-Pot with water or vegetable stock to cover. Add Liquid Smoke and Tabasco. Cook on low for several hours. Check seasoning and add more if needed (I like it spicy but know not everyone does.) Serve over cooked rice, with corn bread, or with Irish soda bread. I like Bob’s Red Mill’s mix. http://www.bobsredmill.com/irish-soda-bread-mix.html