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Good Luck!

December 31, 2008

I grew up in the South. It was our tradition to eat black-eyed peas on the first day of the new year. My mother always placed them in a pan and covered them with water on New Year’s Eve. She allowed them to soak overnight to reduce the cooking time, and she cooked them with a ham hock the following day. To this day, I wouldn’t think of facing a new year without eating black-eyed peas for good luck.

I found the following recipes at Martha Stewart where you can find other suggestions for ringing in the New Year.

Dish out some serendipity to family and friends by giving them lucky New Year’s foods. In Italy, lentils are thought to bring prosperity when eaten on January 1 because they resemble little coins. In the South, eating black-eyed peas shows humility and thus invites good fortune. Both are delicious with ham or other pork roasts. For a gift, package dried black-eyed peas or lentils in a jar with a bouquet garni of dried herbs, such as bay leaves, oregano, savory, and thyme. Attach a gift card with handwritten cooking instructions.

Black-Eyed Peas
Serves 4 to 6

You can buy a bouquet garni or make one by tying dried herbs, such as oregano, savory, thyme, and bay leaf, in a piece of cheesecloth.

2 cups dried black-eyed peas
Dried bouquet garni
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Soak peas overnight. Drain. Bring peas, 3 cups water, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until peas are tender; begin checking after 15 minutes (cooking time will vary). Discard bouquet garni.

Lentils
Serves 4 to 6

2 cups lentils
Dried bouquet garni
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Bring lentils, 3 cups water, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are tender; begin checking after 20 minutes (cooking time will vary). Discard bouquet garni.

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