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Good luck eats to ring in the new year

As superstition has it, eating pork and sauerkraut on New Years’ day will bring good luck in the new year. Supposedly pork helps a person to move ahead and the cabbage, being green like money, brings prosperity. Unfortunately, this did not work in 2020. True or not, pork and sauerkraut, with a few hot dogs thrown in the mix, served over mashed potatoes, is one of my favorite meals.

While we northerners like our pork and sauerkraut, southerners ring in the new year with black-eyed peas for prosperity. Served with cornbread to sop up the smoky, well-seasoned broth, this traditional dish is good any old time.

Have a safe and happy new year!

Pork and Sauerkraut

Pork roast of choice or pork chops

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup water

1 onion, sliced

1 to 2 T. brown sugar

1 T. caraway seeds

1 (29 to 32-ounce) can or bag sauerkraut

1 apple, peeled and sliced

Desired number of hot dogs or sausages (kielbasa or brats are popular,) if desired.

Directions: In large heavy skillet over medium-high, heat a few tablespoons cooking oil. Add the pork and brown on all sides. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.

Transfer roast to a roasting pan. Add water, onion, sauerkraut, caraway seeds and apple. Sprinkle brown sugar over all.

Bake, covered, at 325-degrees F. for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or till pork is fork tender. Check periodically and if pan seems dry add more water, as needed. If adding hot dogs or sausage, place down in kraut about 1 hour before roast is done. Serve with mashed potatoes. Serves 6. (Note: this recipe can also be cooked in a slow-cooker set on low for about 10 hours.)

Black-Eyed Peas

1-pound dried black-eyed peas, picked through for debris then covered with cold water and soaked overnight

5 slices thick bacon

1 cup smoked sausage, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

2 to 3 tsps. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1or 2 bay leaves

1 to 2 tsps. creole seasoning

7 to 8 cups chicken broth, or half broth and half water

2 cups kale or fresh spinach leaves

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Drain peas. In large heavy skillet, saute chopped bacon till brown and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add sausage to pan and saute 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove from pan and set aside.

In same pan, saute onions, celery, garlic, thyme and bay leaf till onions are wilted and aromatic. Pour in chicken broth and water. Add soaked and drained peas. Stir in creole seasoning and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, about 20 minutes.

Add kale or spinach leaves, bacon and sausage to pot and continue cooking 10 minutes or till peas are tender and slightly thickened. Add more broth or water if mixture becomes too thick.

Remove bay leaves. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add more red pepper, creole seasoning and salt, if needed. May be served over cooked rice and garnished with green onion or with warm corn bread.

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