January 1, 2009

New Year's Good Luck Succohash

My husband is devoutly superstitious and New Year's Day always brings out the craziest food-related rules and taboos. For instance, did you know that you shouldn't eat chicken because it scratches backwards? Pork on the other hand is good because pigs root forward. The worst I endure is the pickled herring. *shudder* The first couple of years I gagged and ran to the bathroom after having it forced on me--at midnight no less and after having drink or two, NOT fun! Somehow I've learned to stomach a few pieces but it's on a very short list of foods I avoid. What I do look forward to are the "lucky" vegetable for New Year's Day, they have always been more than welcome. I love, love, love greens and beans and my father always promoted the southern tradition of lucky New Year's Day black eyed peas. Since my parents were coming for brunch I thought I'd switch up a favorite succotash recipe of mine to make it more breakfast friendly. I loved the resulting succotash/hash. I'm not counting on getting any good luck from this dish but it is a nutritional powerhouse. If this isn't your thing then take a look at this list for more traditional good luck foods. And share your superstitions for New Year's Day.

New Year's Good Luck Succohash
Makes enough for 4 generous servings

2 large baking potatoes, 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes
neutral oil (~2 tablespoons)
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 (14 oz) can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
6 large collard leaves
1 cup frozen corn kernels
kosher salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste

-Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
-Toss the cubed potatoes in 2 teaspoons of oil and spread out onto a baking sheet in an even layer.
-Roast the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, turning once. Remove from the oven when golden brown and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt.
-While the potatoes are roasting, start frying the onions with a tablespoon of oil and a sprinkle of salt. Stir occasionally to prevent burning and adjust heat until the onions are lightly caramelized.
-While the onions are cooking, prep your collards. First rinse the collard leaves well in a large bowl of water, repeating until clean. Strip the stems from the leaves and roll the leaves up. Shred and then chop the leaves.
-When the onions are lightly caramelized, add the red pepper, celery, black eyed peas, and collards. Add salt, cayenne, and black pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat until the collards wilt and the other ingredients are hot. The red pepper and celery should retain some crunch.
-Add the frozen corn and allow it to cook just long enough to warm through. Taste again for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
-Serve the mixed vegetables in a bowl topped with the roasted potatoes.

Have a Happy (and lucky) New Year!