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I'm a guy who likes to cook, eat, and drink, but not necessarily in that order. This blog is nothing fancy; just my random thoughts about anything that can be baked, roasted, or fried. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Luck and Money

©2015 Chris Terrell
Luck and Money!
A new year has arrived, and we will spend the next 40 weeks trying to shed the weight we gained during the previous 40 days. But before we hit the treadmill, there's one last food tradition left: black-eyed peas and collards. 

In the South, it is traditional to eat black-eyed peas and collards on New Year's day for luck (the peas) and money (greens). The green color of collards represents money--that's pretty obvious. What's perhaps less so is why black-eyed peas represent luck. One story is that during his infamous march to the sea in Georgia, General Sherman didn't burn the fields planted with black-eyed peas, thinking they were animal feed. Because of the black-eyed peas Sherman spared, many Georgians avoided starvation and ever since the blacked-eyed pea has been considered to bring good luck. 

Black-eyed peas are not just for New Year's Day. I grew up eating them on a regular basis. In my family, we served them with chopped onion and ketchup. 

I've always made my black-eyed peas separate from the collards, cooking the peas slowly over low heat with butter, onion, and a ham hock or bacon. This year, however, I tried something new—a recipe by Raleigh, North Carolina, Chef Ashley Christensen. In her recipe, she combines black-eyed peas and collard greens, appropriately naming it Luck and Money. John T. Edge, named it one of his favorite recipes in a recent issue of Garden & Gun. Here's the recipe, though I added bacon to mine:

Luck and Money
Chef Ashley Christensen, Raleigh, NC

About 6-8 servings

¼ cup canola oil
1 yellow onion, minced
2 lbs. collard greens, stemmed and chopped*
1 tsp. red pepper flakes, toasted (Toast the pepper flakes in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, tossing constantly until they become aromatic.)
½ cup white wine
2 cups cooked peas (Use your favorite field pea.)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. roasted garlic butter**
sea salt to taste
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Warm canola oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Next, add onion and cook until translucent. Add chopped greens, and stir to mix with onion and oil. Season lightly with sea salt and toasted pepper flakes. Stir for 2 minutes to allow the seasoning to permeate the ingredients. Add white wine, and cook the contents of the pot (still over medium heat), stirring every few minutes. Cook until tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Once greens are tender, stir in cooked peas and cider vinegar. Bring to a simmer and season with roasted garlic butter, sea salt, and cracked pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 more minutes, allowing all of the ingredients to incorporate.

*Stems in greens are a matter of preference. I like them both ways, but I also love to pickle the stems separately for garnishing deviled eggs, or Bloody Marys…anything that likes a pickle.

**Roasted garlic butter is made by mixing soft, roasted garlic cloves into soft butter in a ratio of 1:8, so 1 tablespoon of roasted garlic to 1 stick of butter. It’s great for finishing sauces and vegetables. If you prefer, you may just use plain butter. If using plain butter, add a couple of cloves of crushed fresh garlic in with the onion.

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