Cook Up Some Luck for the New Year

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day has been considered good luck for at least 1,500 years. The tradition spread in the South after the Civil War.

Even if you aren’t superstitious, eating a meal packed with lucky food is a great way to start the New Year. Among the most traditional and delicious dishes are black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread. Eaten together on New Year’s Day, they are supposed to bring prosperity (and attract money) in the coming year. Black-eyed peas symbolize pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.

From the kitchen at Lucky 32, this recipe for Beans & Greens checks two of those boxes. This dish is also packed with fiber and vitamin A, so you can get a good start on your healthy resolutions, too. To complete the meal, we’ve included our favorite take on buttermilk cornbread. Top a slice with butter and honey, which is said to bring sweetness in the New Year.

Or, if you prefer to let Lucky 32 do the cooking and live up to its name, the restaurant is open Friday, Jan. 1, with plenty of good luck foods on the menu.

Lucky 32’s Beans & Greens
Makes 1 ½ quarts

2 pounds kale
½ pound dried black-eyed peas
5 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 ½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Soak peas overnight and then drain. Cook peas in salted water until tender, turn off heat and allow to sit until needed.
  2. While peas are cooking, de-stem, chop and wash kale.
  3. Heat oil in large sauce pot over medium heat. Sweat garlic and pepper flakes until aromatic. Turn heat up to medium high and quickly add chopped kale. Stir rapidly to wilt down the kale. When kale has reduced in volume to a third of its size, add drained beans and vinegar.
  4. Cover and simmer until kale is tender. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Buttermilk Cornbread
Makes 8-12 servings

1-2 tablespoons fat (bacon grease, butter or margarine)
1½ cups stoneground cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
2 ½ cups buttermilk

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place fat into a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Put skillet into the oven to melt fat and heat the pan.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (cornmeal through sugar). Set aside.
  4. In another bowl mix eggs and buttermilk. Add to dry ingredients all at once. Stir until just combined.
  5. Carefully take the hot skillet out of the oven, and pour batter into the hot skillet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Turn bread out of the skillet, and serve hot.

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