Sunday, December 30, 2007

Good fortune soup for the New Year


Collard greens? Check.
Black-eyed peas? Check.
Ham? Check.

With these three ingredients, I’m now set to eat a meal filled with good fortune on New Year’s Day. And lord knows, I need all the help I can get. Don’t get me wrong, 2007, for the most part, was a fantastic year, and a large portion of this year’s goodness was because of you.

For instance, this blog made it possible to make new friends and correspond with a ton of interesting people from all over the world. This blog also gave me the opportunity to create new recipes and share them with you, my dear readers. This blog also enabled me to return to Texas more times than I normally do. And so, thanks to all of you and your comments and conversation—writing Homesick Texan and interacting with fellow food lovers has made 2007 a year filled with joy.

The past couple of weeks, however, have been a bit of a trial. Sadly, I lost my dear cat Lily. And last Sunday, while attempting to cut some vegetables with a not-so-sharp paring knife, the knife slipped and ended up in my thumb. With some skin flapping and the blood gushing, I realized that a simple Band-Aid wouldn’t suffice. So I grabbed a roll of paper towels and wrapped them around my thumb, threw on my coat, and hopped on the subway to ride the two stops to St. Vincent’s emergency room. Two hours and four stitches later, I was back in my kitchen, but an important lesson was learned—keep your knives sharp!

Now two unpleasant events do not a bad year make, but I’m not taking any chances going into 2008, so I decided I needed to eat extra lucky foods on New Year’s Day just to be sure I’m covered. Traditionally in the South and Texas, collard greens, black-eyed peas and ham (or some other pork product such as ham hocks or pig’s feet) are eaten on New Year’s Day. The collard greens are for hope and wealth, the black-eyed peas are for good fortune and the pork is so you can live high on the hog. Throw in some cornbread, which is good for gold, and you’ve got a heart-warming, belly-satisfying, most fortunate meal.

I am, however, lazy. If I can throw everything together in one pot, well all the better for when it comes time to do the dishes. And after seeing a collard green, ham and black-eyed pea soup recipe that ran in Gourmet a few years ago, I knew that’s just what I would make. I adjusted the recipe, throwing in a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and a diced carrot for color and richer flavor, and some chipotles for heat. And since it’s collards we’re cooking, I fried up my aromatics in bacon grease for that extra push of pork power.

If you’re searching for a simple meal for New Year’s Day, look no further. This hearty soup is smoky and spicy, perfect for curling up on the couch with a piece of cornbread for dipping into the bowl. And the best thing about it is you can make it the day before, so you don’t even have to cook on New Year’s Day. But if you make it ahead of time, be careful not to eat all of it, which I’m currently in danger of doing since I keep sneaking back to the stove and dipping my spoon into the pot. At the rate I’m going, I won’t have any left for Tuesday. Though that said, this soup is a snap and if need be, I could easily whip up another batch.

So Happy New Year, dear readers! Thank you so much for all of your camaraderie and good cheer in 2007—you make writing this blog a true joy and pleasure. I am privileged to have gotten to know so many of you. And may your 2008 be filled with good fortune, happiness and lots of comforting, memorable meals!

New Year’s Day Good Fortune Soup (adapted from Gourmet)
Ingredients:
1/2 pound of collard greens, stems removed and chopped
1/2 pound of cooked ham, diced
2 15 oz. cans of black-eyed peas (can use fresh or frozen as well)
1 small onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large carrot, diced
5 chipotle chiles chopped
1 can of Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 teaspoon of thyme
4 cups of chicken broth
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
A pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons of bacon grease (can use olive oil or vegetable oil if you prefer)
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1. In a large pot, cook the onion and carrots in the bacon grease on medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until onions start to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook for three more minutes.
2. Add to the pot the collard greens, vinegar, sugar, ham, chicken stock, chipotles, Ro-Tel tomatoes and thyme, and bring pot to a boil and then simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Take one can of black-eyed peas, and roughly mash with a fork. Add these and the other can of black-eyed peas to the pot.
4. Continue to simmer soup for another 45 minutes.
Serves 6-8
Note: If you don’t want to use pork, that’s fine, but don’t replace the pork with chicken if you’re going to eat this on New Year’s Day. Why? Well, they say eating chickens is a no-no since the birds scratch backwards. I know, I know, I’m not really superstitious, but might as well not take any chances!

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45 comments:

Deb said...

Your poor thumb! And you were so bad-ass, not even hailing a cab. I would have not only gone for the cab, I probably would have made Alex come home and hail it for me.

I love the idea of this soup, because my feelings are mixed about black eyed peas unless there are a lot of other flavors, so this could be perfect. Also wanted to let you know I ordered some grapefruits from that organic place in Texas you mentioned last month and cannot wait to get them!

Hope you have a happy new year!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about Lily's passing.
Alexis

eonyc said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Lily. It's so hard to lose our four-footed friends.
Your blog has definitely made my 2007 better--three cheers for 2008!

Frank said...

And a Texas-sized Happy New Year to you! My '07 began with the loss of a great drinking buddy, followed by my dad in August, but I see all kinds of good stuff for 2008. Heck even my Texans won yesterday, for their first 8-8 season ever!
BTW, glad to see cornbread on your menu! Hope to see you again this coming year at The Hot Sauce Fest!
FM
P.S.-I am coming up for 2 things:
1)Yankee Game before they tear it down;
2) BBQ Block Party!

radish said...

Happy New Year to you too!! I've got a huge crush/love on Texas now, so I feel your nostalgia. Sorry about Lily and thumb - I'm so glad to have met you this year and adore your blog - looking forward to more recipes in 2008!

SteamyKitchen said...

may Lily's days be filled with heavenly catnip!

happy new year to you, my friend!

She sure is strange! said...

Oh I am so sorry to read about your precious Lily. We have just put our sweet Soshie down this morning as well after 3 months of recovering from swallowing a mylar streamer(you can read about it at my blog). I'm reeling and trying not to cry every time I let my mind get still.

I also cut my thumb, exactly a week before Christmas while cutting up peppers. My knife was sharp, thumb was just in the wrong place. It should have had stitches but I had my hubby rush home with gauze and a metal finger cot and was able to get it healed. But lordy it hurt!

We are headed out in a bit to buy some blackeyed peas(I thought I had them in the freezer but don't) and ham. I've got cabbage but no collard greens, I may leave them out and put in celery. My father-in-law is Cajun so mine may have more leanings that way. It amazes me that I have every other ingredient, even the chipotles!

I hope your new year is as wonderful as all get out! Peace to you.

Molly

Chantele said...

Sorry too hear about Lily. Your blog has been a great addition to our 2007 as we are homesick Texans in Wisconsin and I now can make chili gravy to hold us over til we get to Ojeda's.

In 2008 could you please do a migas recipe?

Thank you and Happy New Year!!

Christine (myplateoryours) said...

I am sorry about Lily and about your thumb. Pretty amazed you got into an emergency room and back home in a couple of hours, though. Your good fortune is setting in already.

Last year I followed your example and ate black-eyed peas on Jan 1 and while it wasn't a stellar year, it was very, very good. Am laying in more peas and some fabulous pork sausage from a local shop for tomorrow's lunch. Collards too, if I can find them.

You have a very happy New Year, Lisa!!

Lydia said...

May 2008 bring you more of the good things, and a knife sharpener for your next birthday! Happy New Year, Lisa, and thanks for a wonderful year of posts.

hensteeth said...

Wishing you a 2008 filled with all the goodies you crave.

Happy New Year!

Ronnie (http://aroundthetable.typepad.com) said...

Sorry to hear about Lily and your thumb. Unfortunately I know what both those experiences feel like. I have really enjoyed reading your blog over the last year. Interesting recipe and love the pictures. Really eye catching. Happy New Year.

Homesick Texan said...

Deb--When I tell the story, everyone asks the same thing, "Why didn't you hail a cab?" I think because it was raining that night, and it's so darn impossible to get a cab when it's wet outside that the subway just seemed like the quickest option. I think you'd like the soup--the black-eyed peas are just a bit player. And I hope you enjoy the grapefruit! Happy new year!

Alexis--Thanks, she had a long and happy life, and it wasn't unexpected, just sort of sad to happen at the holidays.

Eonyc--Three cheers for 2008 indeed! Huzzah!

Frank--I'm so sorry to hear about your losses, especially your dad. But yes, I see good things in 2008 as well! And look me up when you're in town--are you working the Blue Smoke booth?

Radish--Yay to your crush on Texas! Hopefully we NYers can get together soon, and you and I can talk Texas! Happy new year, Olga--I'm glad I had the chance to meet you as well!

SteamyKitchen--Happy new year to you, too, my friend! I can't wait to see what you come up with in 2008!

Molly--My heart goes out to you--I know just how you feel. As my uncle says--mourn the loss, celebrate the life. Happy new year!

Chantele--As a migas lover, I think that could be arranged!

Christine--My emergency room strategy was to park myself right in front of the triage window dripping blood so they'd admit me STAT. And it worked! Have a happy new year, Christine!

Lydia--Thank YOU for a wonderful year of posts! I learn something new everytime I read your blog. Happy new year!

Hensteeth--And may you too recieve all the goodies you crave. Happy new year!

Ronnie--Thank you, I'm glad I discovered your blog (via Christine) as well. Happy new year!

Julie said...

I'm sorry to hear about Lily. I seem to remember you saying in a previous post that she was 17 and that's a ripe old age for a cat. Of course, even when you expect the death, and even when you know your pet has lived a long and happy life, it's sad.

Taking the subway to the emergency room? You're a trooper.

Happy new year! I'm looking forward to reading your 2008 posts.

AnnieKNodes said...

"...that extra push of pork power" is my favorite blog phrase of 2008. Love it.

I want to join in on the condolences about sweet Lily. She was a lucky kitty to be able to grow up around such yummy kitchen smells.

Happy 2008 Miz Lisa!

k said...

I'm so glad you posted about our fantastic New Year's tradition back home. And I'm always happy to see cornbread and collard greens make an appearance on any foodie blog. :D

Here's to a wonderful 2008 for you and yours. Can't wait to see what it holds for my favorite Texas blogger!

Sam said...

I am sorry to hear the bad news. But I have faith that the black eyed peas will make everything better. I am counting on it. Have a good one.

And it's funny - i have had your last year post open on my computer a couple of days whilst I was writing my own blog post for today but it wasn't til I'd finished and checking my links I noticed your this year post - and I can't believe we both used the "check" with an ingredient list in our posts.

Must be something in those black eyed peas!

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Hi Homesick Texan! I am so sorry about your Lily. That breaks my heart. I too have a Lily that I got twelve years ago as a freshman at UT and can't even bear to think about life without her one day.

Onto a happier subject - guess what my husband's favorite present was this year even over Guitar Hero? The old school Dr. Pepper I ordered online! We too are misplaced Texans living in NYC so he just adored it. Might have started an expensive habit though:)

Well, best of luck to you in the New Year! Keep on writing!

Sandy said...

I am so sorry about your Lily. Your thumb? I feel your pain...ugh!
Hubby and I just finished these peas and, after 22 years of marriage and 22 years of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day, these are the absolute BEST! Thanks so much.

JEP said...

I've had a grest time stopping by your blog during 2007 & look forward to your providing us with lots of good eats during 2008!

Cynthia said...

Oh yeah, this is a soup for the soup-Gods!

Happy new year!

swampy said...

My first visit here...so sorry about your Lily. Only pet lovers can understand your pain. We lost our dear Junior a year ago January 2. I still miss him.
The recipe sounds scrumptious, minus the thumb.
Since I'm not home, my black-eyed peas were naked this year. Only ham and salt, but nevertheless, they were good and I ate enough of them, good luck should follow me all the days of my life.
Stop by some time. Today we are building Gingerbread Houses.

Mansi Desai said...

nice soup recipe! the ingredients are pretty uniquely combined:) I'll have to make a veggie version though..

Dez said...

Thank you! This is the best ham Hoppin' John! I made this yesterday, called my brother and told him to make it and brought some in for the folks at work.

The new year is off to a good start.

Mama T said...

Too bad I missed this post as it would have been yummy for New Years. I could still try it though..
And am I the only one that had to have a second and even third look at the (now obviously) photo of ham to ensure that it wasn't a picture of your hacked up thumb? Thanks for not sharing a picture of the injury!

sugarlaws said...

i'm sorry about lily, and about your thumb! i went to st vincent's with a cooking injury once, ironically, but mine was from cutting squash! happy new year!

Brin said...

Crap, Lisa. I'm so sorry to read about the passing of Lily and the mutilation of the thumb. When I say I feel for you, I mean it. My cat, Maebelline, died in September, and I spent ALL of the holidays nursing my left index finger (which I sliced a chunk off with a new Santuko knife)....

It gets better - the empty house... "I want my cat"... hysteria. AND the flesh wounds. Somehow it really does. But until then, you're in my thoughts.

Brin
My Messy, Thrilling Life

ann said...

Happy New Year Lisa!!!
I'm so sorry about Lily. That's a bummer. But 2008? It's going to be great, especially with more of your awesome meals. Thanks, and best wishes!

Veron said...

Here's to lots of good luck in the New Year. I had string of bad luck running up to the new year, but it made me want to welcome 2008 all the more.

Anonymous said...

Bless Ms. Lily! Not sure where people go, but am positive our sweet fur-friends go to a beautiful place where they can play and sleep to their hearts content.

Made the soup recipe and it was devine! HEB has a pre-cut, pre-washed bag of mixed greens. Loved it.

Hope the thumb is not slowing you down any. Here's to a wonderful new year!

Texann

Pille said...

Happy New Year (and may you have lots of good fortune in 2008:)

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Lily. And then your thumb, and riding the subway to get it taken care of?! That's ghastly. I did something similar to my thumb some months ago, only I sort of sliced the end off of it, so it couldn't be stitched, even. But, hey, that was last year.

Your soup sounds so hearty and spicy! I've co-opted the Southern tradition, and for some years now I've made the peas & ham, collards, etc., on New Year's Day (don't know if the luck works for me, a West-Coast and now Midwestern girl, but I always hope so). I just adore blackeyed peas.

Thanks for this great new soup idea. All the best for a happy and healthy 2008. Looking forward to what you have in store on the blog!

Smitty said...

Condolences on the loss of your cat. You are right to say "celebrate the life." It sounds like you and Lily and a lot of wonderful years together.

And thank you for the soup recipe-- now I know what to do with all my leftover ham and collards from New Year's Day! Here's to a happier 2008!

lobstersquad said...

yum. I love black-eyed peas, but always forget to cook them.
I made do with lentils and sausages for a good luck dish.Happy New Year!

Mike said...

Whenever in your in the "old neighborhood"...visit Mena's Tex Mex at the corner of Trinity Mills and Marsh....we had our office "holiday meal" at this one of a kind joint. I was told the brisket tacos were terrific...but I went more blue collar with the tamales....was NOT let down !!!

Enjoy your work per usual.

MrsMarv said...

Not you too! Every New Year's day we go to my ex-boss' brunch where he forces us to eat black-eyed peas for luck! (But at least he gives us cheesy grits and pecan pie to wash them down with!)

Suzana said...

Really nice combo! I so love soup but I don't think I ever tried it with black eyed peas - should try this soon!

Best of lucks in 2008! :)

Homesick Houstonian said...

Yum!

Sorina said...

Great recipe love it :) thanks looking forward to more recipes

Homesick Texan said...

Julie--Yep, she had a long and happy life. Happy new year to you, too!

AnnieKNodes--Thanks! I should put the phrase on a T-shirt! Happy 2008 to you, too.

K-Yep, you can never go wrong with cornbread and collard greens!

Sam--Black-eyed peas make everything better!

Miss Meat and Potatoes--Dr Pepper beat Guitar Hero? That's high praise!

Sandy--Why thank you!

JEP--Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to seeing you in the future!

Cynthia--Yep, the soup gods smile down on this bowl of joy. Happy new year!

Swampy--Black-eyed peas don't need much adornment to be delicious. Thanks for stopping by!

Mansi Desai--It's just as good without the ham, I think, as it's so spicy.

Dez--Hurrah! I'm so glad y'all liked it!

Mama T--It's good for New Year's, but it's also just as good on any cold day. And no, I think you're the first who thought the ham was my thumb, but if I squint I can see how you'd think that!

Sugarlaws--Oh...I'm so sorry to hear you, too, have spent time at St. Vincent's due to a cooking injury.

Brin--I'm so sorry to hear about Maebelline and your thumb. Be careful with your new knife!

Ann--2008 is going to be awesome indeed!

Veron--Yep, as painful as bad times can be, they do help you appreciate the good times.

Texann--Thumb is healed and I'm back in the kitchen. Glad y'all enjoyed the soup. Happy new year!

Pille--And happy new year to you, too!

Lisa--Ha! It's so funny, but I didn't even think to get to the hospital any other way. But I'm sorry to hear about your poor thumb--ugh! Sounds like there are quite a few of us with cooking injuries!

Smitty--Thanks! Happy new year!

Lobstersquad--I love lentils and sausages as well. I reckon if I was from another culture, they'd be just as lucky!

Mike--Will do, I'm not familiar with it but will check it out.

MrsMarv--Ha! They can be an acquired taste, but since I grew up with them, I love them!

Suzana--Best of luck to you, too!

Homesick Houstonian--Thanks!

Sorina--Thanks!

Sandy said...

Just made this again 2 days ago - by request, of course! I did not have any pork or ham so I substituted Kielbasa. It was delicious! I'm thinking that this is gonna be the basic recipe I use with all kinds of meats and beans, etc. Thank you so much.

Bill Medifast said...

This looks like such a delicious recipe. I am on my adventure to creating the meal menus for this holiday season and congrats! You've made it into mine this year. If you have any new suggestions to this recipe please let me know. It sounds so good.

Thanks a lot,

Bill M.

Red Fern said...

This was fabulous! And beautiful and easy. I prepared this on NYE so I wouldn't have any cooking to do on New Years Day. I just sauteed the bacon, sweated the onions, carrots and garlic and threw in the rest, using dried black-eyed peas and thick sliced ham from the deli. My oh my, how easy and delish! Not only that but I forgot to put in the tomatoes that I planned to use instead of the rotel...and it was still great.

Happy new year and bright blessings to you! Thanks for giving me a great new tradition for NYD!

Anonymous said...

Made this today, 01 Jan 2012...delicious. I tweaked a few things but the original recipe was virtually the same. Awesome. Thanks. Happy New Year!

Vindaloo Tiramisu said...

Just served your Good Fortune Soup yesterday for my New Year's Day Open House. Made a double batch and a tiny modification (reduced the amount of chipotle slightly and a little extra chicken broth. I tell you, I was darn lucky to get a bowl myself. Had to copy the recipe for everyone because they all wanted to go home and make it themselves. Outstanding soup!

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