In the southern part of The United States there are some important traditions at many times of the year, particularly on New Year’s Day. Our family always prepares the New Year’s Day meal consisting of Black Eyed Peas, Greens, Pork, and Corn Bread. Each food has its own symbolic meaning. Essentially, the meal is meant to bring luck, wealth, health, and prosperity in the new year.
This year, like every year, our holiday season was busy with shopping, sewing, wrapping, shipping, cooking, celebrating, music concerts, swim meets, homework, exams, work, entertaining, and cleaning. We are so grateful to lead full and productive lives! However, sometimes, we get tired! We are getting better at recognizing when we may need to improvise in order to keep our traditions but minimize the workload.
The New Year’s Day 2019 meal was one of those times. We spent New Year’s Eve at a family party with swim team friends. We stayed up too late laughing and having fun playing Wii and board games and watching the Seattle Space Needle fireworks extravaganza on TV. So this year, instead of doing a long, slow roasted, dirty-dish-making meal on New Year’s Day, we decided to try out a one-pot version of all our traditional favorites! It was so good that I’m sharing the recipe here so we can use it next year when we will most likely be sick and tired of washing up the dishes after the holidays!
New Years Day Soup
2 carrots peeled and sliced
2 celery ribs sliced
1 onion diced
1 or 2 (or zero, depending on your preference) jalapeno peppers seeded and diced (I wear medical gloves for this activity because I’ve touched my face too many times after cutting jalapenos with my bare hands and that’s a type of hell that I don’t care to repeat)
Garlic (if you like garlic like we do then go for it Gyde-style: add a few tablespoons of the chopped garlic in the jar. Or, if you are a purist use 3-4 cloves…chopped)
1 Can of diced tomatoes (I buy what’s on sale and this time it was the fire roasted tomatoes with the onion and garlic, I love those!)
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilis
2 cans of water
2 large cartons of broth (I used vegetable)
2 bags frozen black-eyed peas
2 bags frozen collard greens
Ham Cubes (omit for a vegetarian version of this soup)
2-4 Tablespoons of Olive oil (I used an oil infused with chilis because we like it a little spicy)
Salt and pepper
Vinegar (we used red wine vinegar only because I couldn’t find the white vinegar)
Splash the olive oil in the bottom of your soup pot. I don’t measure it because that makes more dirty dishes…and I hate doing dishes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and jalapeno. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. I go easy with the salt at this point because the broth and tomatoes have salt. You can salt to taste at the table.
Saute a little while before adding the garlic. Add the garlic and saute a few more minutes. You want the veggies to be soft but not caramelized.
Note: at this point you may want to transfer everything to the crock pot or you can continue on the stove top.
Add the broth and the tomatoes. I fill the tomato cans with water to get the remaining spices from the can.
Throw in the frozen black-eyed peas and collard greens.
Simmer on the stove until the peas are soft…about an hour.
Add the ham cubes and heat through.
To serve, drizzle a spoonful of vinegar and a sprinkle of cracked black pepper over the hot soup. We have corn bread with butter and honey on the side.
Here’s to luck, wealth, health, and prosperity in 2019!
All our best to all of you!