WITH CHRISTMAS JUST a couple of days away, I find myself thinking ahead.
New Year’s Day is coming and I can’t help thinking about culinary goals and plans for 2019.
Something that has been on my culinary bucket list for quite some years is the southern tradition of collard greens and black eyed peas.
I grew up without much of a New Year’s culinary tradition.
My parents used to trundle us over to the neighbors where we would stay awake by consuming unlimited amounts of Coca-Cola and Fritos until it was time to go outside and bang pot lids together in the frosty darkness.
Like anything I am curious about, my first step is to Google it.
From Wikipedia I learned that collards, a large leafed member of the cabbage family, are eaten to symbolize money because they fold like a dollar bill.
The black-eyed peas are eaten at New Year’s in order to bring good luck for the coming year.
Because they puff up when cooked they symbolize growth and change.
Wikipedia goes on to list some foods to avoid on New Years including lobster because they move backward and winged animals because if you eat chicken your luck might fly away.
Enough on the symbolism. Let’s get to the kitchen.
The basic idea is a luscious bean stew and a well-simmered side of a sturdy winter green most frequently collards.
Most recipes include some kind of pork … a ham hock, a few strips of bacon or pork belly, but the pork can be omitted if you prefer a vegetarian option.
Before this week I did not have much experience with black-eyed peas.
I have cooked black beans, pintos and garbanzos many times and I have experimented with rinsing, overnight soaking and pre-cooking.
Until this week I assumed black-eyed peas would be very similar.
But I am happy to report that this legume cooks quickly and completely without soaking into a buttery creamy dish with none of the digestive difficulty caused by many legumes.
Black eyed peas cook so quickly that you can actually start this recipe with the collard greens.
Betsy Wharton is the proprietor of the Clallam Canning Co., a local purveyor of artisan pickles and other farm to jar goods. You can find her and her products at the Sprouting Hope Greenhouse at 826 E. First St. in Port Angeles. Or contact her at [email protected] canningcompany.com.