New Year’s Day is rich in culinary traditions. Southerners eat black eyed peas, cabbage or collard greens, pork and corn bread. Each of these items is supposed to bring luck and riches in the new year. According to a Dec. 31 Sarasota Herald Tribune report, some southerners take collard greens on New Year’s Day so seriously an annual collard greens cook-off is held on New Year’s Eve in Sarasota, Fla.
The cook-off winner takes home $100 and bragging rights for the year. The 2012 winning greens were seasoned with lemon pepper, smoked turkey, onion, sugar and vinegar. Most recipes have been passed down for generations in southern families.
Collard greens are eaten on New Year’s Day to symbolize the stacks of green paper money the eater hopes to find in the coming year. Some people eat cabbage, kale or turnip greens instead of collards. Try this recipe from Paula Deen if you’re hoping for some extra financial luck in 2013.
Paula Deen’s stewed collard greens
- 8 strips bacon (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 stick butter
- 2 cups water
- 2 pounds collards, rinsed and drained, stems removed, leaves cut into 1/2-inch strips
- Hot sauce
- Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion and butter and cook until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes more.
- Add the water and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the collards and cook until very soft, about 20 minutes.
- Season with salt and hot sauce, to taste.
- Transfer the greens to a serving bowl and serve.