Southerners eat collard greens on New Year’s Day. Dining on greens signifies the hope of finding an abundance of cash in the coming year. According to a Dec. 31 Sarasota Herald Tribune report, the green leafy vegetables play such a big part in New Year’s traditions that a collard greens cook-off is held on New Year’s Eve in Sarasota, Fla. each year. The winner takes home $100, plus bragging rights until the next cook-off.
The 2012 winner used a family recipe that had been passed down for generations. It was seasoned with smoked turkey, onions, vinegar, sugar and lemon pepper.
Paula Deen is one of the most famous southern cooks. Paula has several recipes for different ways to prepare collard greens. The traditional southern style preparation is most common on New Year’s Day. The greens are often eaten with pork, black eyed peas and corn bread, all foods that symbolize wealth and good luck in the new year.
Paula Deen's Traditional Southern Collard Greens
- 1/2 pound smoked meat (ham hocks, smoked turkey wings, or smoked neck bones)
- 1 tablespoon House seasoning, recipe follows
- 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
- 1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce
- 1 large bunch collard greens
- 1 tablespoon butter
- In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil.
- Add smoked meat, house seasoning, seasoned salt and hot sauce.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour.
- Wash the collard greens thoroughly.
- Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand. The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don't need to be stripped.
- Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-ince thick slices.
- Place greens in pot with meat and add butter.
- Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When done taste and adjust seasoning.
To make the house seasoning, combine a cup of salt, 1/4 cup of black pepper and 1/4 cup of garlic powder. Store in an airtight container for up to six months.