Although not as popular in our neck of the woods, this traditional beans-and-greens dish is a New Year’s Day staple in many parts of the Southern US. However, this meal can be eaten all winter long–it is hearty, healthy, and delicious. Southerners eat black-eyed peas (which represent coins) and collard greens (which represent paper money) to symbolize and encourage a prosperous future. After such a financially difficult 2020, we could all use a little good luck stew to start off right.
2 pounds collard greens (substitute kale or swiss chard)
1 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
8 ounces bacon or ham, diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups unsalted chicken stock (substitute veggie stock)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 large dried bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Fill the sink with cold water and wash the collard greens with at least 3 changes of water–until there is absolutely no grit left in the sink. Cut thick stems out of the greens and chop the leaves.
Cook (but do not crisp) the bacon in a large skillet. Set the bacon aside on a paper towel to drain. Add the chopped onion to the skillet, stirring frequently until soft.
Combine the beans, bacon, onions, garlic, chicken stock, tomato paste, vinegar, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes in the crockpot. The stock should cover the top of the beans. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours. Open the lid and add the greens. Recover and cook for one more hour. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
Need something to serve with your stew? Cornbread–great to soak up the stew with–also plays into the theme of good fortune (hint: its golden color). Additionally, fresh tomatoes, grits, mac and cheese, or roasted, baked, boiled, mashed, or au gratin potatoes make wonderful additions to your prosperous New Year meal.