Friday, January 01, 2010

southern new year's day cuisine

Here in the South (although many, including yours truly, would argue that Texas technically isn't a part of "the South", but I digress), we've got traditions galore. New Year's Day holds its own unique rituals, including specific types of food.

Tradition goes that one is to celebrate decadently on New Year's Eve, delighting in the likes of caviar and champagne while ringing out the old and toasting in the new with taste and style; however, once New Year's Day arrives, eating simply from "poor" foods (black eyed peas and cabbage) is supposed to bring luck and prosperity.

Memories of Mom and Dad serving up big steaming pots of lucky cabbage (whose leaves are representative of paper money) and black eyed peas (for prosperity -- their shape and abundance representing coins) are a major part of my New Year's Day mental pictures of growing up in Texas. For us superstitious southerners, January 1st without these staples would not be a smart way to usher in the new year ... sort of like needlessly tempting fate.

As we've all grown up and gotten older (and a whole lot smarter), we're much better at trying out different versions of these traditional dishes. Today, my daddy prepared a simple, yet delicious meal of black eyed peas, sauteed cabbage, and smoked sausage. If we're not healthy and wealthy in 2010, it won't be a result from a lack of good New Year's Day grub.

Thought I'd share our cabbage recipe ...

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
4 slices of bacon, diced
dash of fennel seed
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste

Chop up a half-head of cabbage. Dice and sautee bacon until medium-crisp. Pour off excess bacon grease. Add a dash of fennel seed and a pinch of course pepper to subtly flavor the base. Sautee over medium heat for about one minute, and then deglaze pan with white wine. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat until wine is reduced. Add cabbage and steam, turning frequently for about 3-4 minutes until cabbage begins to get tender. Add chicken stock and continue to cook as stock reduces. Cover and simmer on low heat until cabbage is very tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

1 comment:

Beverly said...

So damn good. And the wine doesn't hurt either.