Ring in the New Year, Deliciously
Around the world, folks who follow the Gregorian calendar anyway, will be ringing in the new year at the stroke of midnight on December 31. New Year’s traditions often include delicious foods to bring good luck, money, and prosperity for the year to come. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite New Year’s foods with easy-to-follow recipes.
What: Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens
Where: American South
In the American South, a well-loved and straightforward meal was developed using humble, but delicious, ingredients. Tradition holds that eating a meal of black-eyed peas (representing coins) and collard greens (representing paper money) will bring wealth and prosperity in the coming year.
Collard greens are in the same family as cabbages and are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese, and are a moderate source of calcium and vitamin B6.
Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens*
Time: Up to 10 hours, hands-on about 30 minutes
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
2 Tbsp butter or vegan butter substitute
1 large white onion (diced)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
5 strips bacon or veggie bacon (coarsely chopped)
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
Soak the peas in water overnight.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted add onion, garlic, bacon, and bay leaf. Cook until onion is translucent and bacon begins to crisp. Cover the pan and let sit on heat for about three minutes. Drain the peas and add to pan. Cover with water and cook for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Cooking times vary depending on the age of the peas. Peas are done when they are able to be easily squished with the back of a spoon. Check the peas every half hour for doneness. Add more water as it boils off.
While the peas cook, prepare the collards by cutting out the hard stem and chopping the remaining leaves into bite-sized pieces.
Add collards to cooked peas and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan with the lid again and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Once the collards turn wilted and tender, remove from heat.
Serve black-eyed peas and collard greens over seasoned rice or quinoa with a piece of cornbread.
What: Soba Noodle
Toshikoshi soba, or year-crossing noodle, is the traditional dish enjoyed in Japan on New Year’s Eve. The long noodles represent long life and the buckwheat they are made from symbolizes resiliency since buckwheat can withstand harsh growing conditions. The year ahead will be extra lucky if you can slurp the noodles without any breaking.
Soba Noodles with Greens and Beans
Total time: 30 minutes
8 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2-3 leeks, washed well and sliced thin (about 2 cups)
8 ounces fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3/4 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon sambal chile paste
4 tablespoons tamari
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, ginger, sambal, tamari, and vegetable broth. Set aside.
While noodles are cooking, heat a large skillet with the 2 tablespoons sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and sauté for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add the sauce, spinach, and black beans and continue cooking until the spinach is wilted. Add the noodles, toss together and serve hot.
Accompany this toothsome main dish with spring rolls or rice crackers, or for a quick and easy an Asian-style soup, just place in serving bowls and spoon in some heated veggie or chicken broth.
Where: Poland and Central Europe
Sauerkraut is often enjoyed on New Year’s Day in Poland and Germany. It’s cooked with a bit of pork, ham or sausage for a delicious and filling feast. The cabbage harvest starts at the beginning of cold weather in November and sauerkraut can take up to eight weeks to fully ferment. Pigs root forward and are considered a symbol of progress. The sweet and savory flavor of kielbasa sausage melded with the crispy, tart tang of sauerkraut makes for a delicious start to the new year.
Sausage and Cabbage Stew (Bigos)*
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
This aromatic cabbage, sauerkraut, sausage stew hails from central Europe and is Poland's national dish.
2 tablespoons canola oil
12 ounces Kielbasa (or your favorite sausages), cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound smoked ham, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces mushrooms, cut in 1/2-inch slices
1/2 pound green cabbage, shredded
1/2 pound sauerkraut, drained
1 apple, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Brown the pieces of sausage and smoked ham. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for several minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Lower the heat, cover and continue to cook for 45 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes or so to prevent sticking.
Traditionally, this stew is served with potatoes and rye bread, and is often made a day ahead of time, allowing the flavors to mingle overnight. Deviled eggs or creamed herring are served as an appetizer with this dish. For a lighter meal, add a fresh green salad, or lightly-steamed broccoli, carrots, or green beans.
More New Year’s Food Traditions
In Spain, revelers eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight - one grape for each toll of the bell - for luck in the new year.
Lentils, representing coins, are a lucky meal for Italians.
Greek tradition holds that in smashing a pomegranate against your front door you can predict your prosperity in the new year. The more seeds that fall out, the more luck and fertility the family will be blessed with.
*Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at www.strongertogether.coop.