January 1, 2014 – Every southerner knows that you have to eat blackeyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day. Blackeyed peas for luck in the coming year; cabbage for money.
I’m not by nature superstitious. Nevertheless I have to admit that with my southern roots I’m a little nervous facing any year that doesn’t begin with blackeyed peas and cabbage. I can’t say with any certainty that eating the traditional meal on the first day of the year has ever made me luckier or richer. As a matter of fact, there have been a couple of years that were downright disastrous even though I ate right on January 1. Just makes me wonder how much worse it could have been had I not followed the tradition.
In my family, they are accompanied by my Dad’s pepper gravy, a tomato and jalapeno sauce. And I always use my Mother’s recipe for cabbage.
For my Dad’s pepper gravy, you can use either canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, chopped well. Fresh tomatoes require more cooking time to let them cook down to sauce consistency. Canned tomatoes are quicker and easier.
My Dad’s Pepper Gravy
2 tablespoons peanut oil 1 can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped 1 egg, well beaten
1 jalapeno, chopped
Heat oil over medium high heat in a heavy skillet until hot but not smoking. Add onion and jalapeno. Saute until the vegetables begin to soften, three to five minutes.
Add tomatoes, stirring to combine with the onions and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid has begun to evaporate, about another five minutes.
Add the beaten egg, stirring quickly. Let it cook just until the egg has set, binding the gravy.
Serve over blackeyed peas and rice.
My Mother’s Cabbage
½ pound bacon, diced 1 head cabbage, shredded
1 large onion, chopped ½ cup soy sauce
Saute’ the bacon over medium high heat for about five minutes.
Add the cabbage and combine with the bacon and onions. Let it cook down for three to five minutes, until it has begun to soften and its volume has been reduced.
Add the soy sauce and mix well.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for eight to ten minutes, depending on whether you prefer it crisp or soft.
Bon temps! And Happy New Year!