Superstitions….

When I was a kid, my grandmother insisted that everyone eat Pork, Collard Greens & Black Eyed Peas for New Year’s Day Dinner.  There were no excuses allowed.  Not even the fact that I don’t like the taste/texture of cooked collard greens.  Hate may be a strong word, but sadly, it applies here.  I juice collard greens all the time because I know it’s nutrient dense, but if it’s cooked, I will pass any day but New Year’s Day (begrudgingly of course). Although I should say, soup is my only reasonable exception to the no cooked collards rule  so I usually do New Year’s Day Soup if I’m making dinner, but since I had limited time this year I went with the family’s easy fall back: The Big Salad.  Since we prefer salads that are a mix of hot and cold ingredients, I figured I could still say I “cooked” New Year’s Day dinner.

So, I set up three pots on the stove and went to work.  Of course you can make the parts days ahead and assemble at will like a salad bar so don’t let the big list fool you into believing this salad is a lot of work:

New Year’s Day Good Luck Salad

 New Years Day Salad

Pot 1: Saute Pan: Pork (Smoked Sausage):

  • 1-pound smoked pork sausage
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (raw if you can find it)

Slice 1-pound smoked pork sausage in 3/4-inch to 1-inch slices and set aside. Set a saute pan over medium heat.  The saute pan is ready when you can drop a few drops of water into the pan and the water forms a ball that skates over the surface of the pan.  Add  the sliced sausage to the pan and move the sausage around the pan for about a minute.  (You’re just trying to get some of the oil out of the sausage.  You know it’s right when there’s a bit of a sheen on the sausage.) You can walk away from the sausage now, but every minute or so, check on the sausage and move it around the pan so all sides get browned.  You want it to start browning, but not turn black and get some fond (browned bits) sticking to the bottom of the pot.  When the bottom surface of the pot is covered with fond, Add 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar and use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Toss the sausage in the browned bits so they are coated and leave the sausage and vinegar to cook together until all the vinegar is evaporated and it’s a bit sticky and bubbling in the pan.  Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.

 

Pot 2: 2-quart Sauce Pan: Black Eyed Peas:

  • 3 cups black eyed peas
  • 1 spanish onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic or roasted garlic puree
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning herbs
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup stock (turkey/chicken/vegetable)

I used about 3 cups of black eyed peas that I cooked from dried peas and froze a while ago.  Some supermarkets have fresh black eyed peas in the vegetable section, but canned black eyed peas would work equally well here.  Set sauce pan over medium heat.  When water droplets curl into balls and skate over the top of the pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and minced spanish onion.  Move the onions around the pan with a wood spoon or spatula.   Add  (If you are using canned peas then only use 2 tsp of salt) 1 tbsp kosher salt, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 1 tbsp, italian seasoning herbs, 1 tbsp curry powder & 1 Tbsp smoked paprika .  When onions are translucent, add 1 tbsp minced garlic or roasted garlic puree.  When garlic is fragrant (about a minute), add the beans.  Toss to coat with the onion-garlic mixture.  Then add 1 cup turkey/chicken/vegetable stock. Use a wood spoon or spatula to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Cook on medium heat until the liquid has evaporated.  Remove the beans from the pan and set aside.

 

Pot 3: 1-quart Sauce Pan: Brown Rice:

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 4-1/2 cups water or stock

Used my usual Brown Rice recipe, but added 1 tbsp curry powder & 1 Tbsp smoked paprika to the oil.

 

 

Big Bowl on the counter: Kale & Collard Greens (Raw):

  • 1 large head kale, cleaned & dry
  • 1 large head collard greens, cleaned & dry
  • olive oil

When I say “large head of kale” I mean you should have about a gallon of kale and collard greens when you’re done.  If you have a salad spinner, it should be filled to the brim.  Cut the stems off the kale and collard greens then cut the leaves to your desired size.  Save the stems for juicing.  I like them about 1/8-inch wide and 1-1/2 to 2-inches long, but this part is up to you.  You’re going to “massage” the olive oil into the kale/collard mix.  Really squeeze and toss the kale/collards as though you are trying to get water into a sponge.  When you are done all of the kale should be coated in a THIN sheen of oil.  I would say about a tablespoon per quart of greens so adjust up or down depending on how much you are going to eat.

 

The Salad Bowl…

OK…. so here’s where it gets kind of creative…. The salad can be all or some of the following ingredients adjusted to your taste/preferences.  Most of them I picked in order to stand up to the taste of kale/collards.  If you prefer really flavorful salads (ex. Spicy Chicken, Teriyaki Salmon, etc.), try using massaged kale/collards sometimes since they can provide an interesting contrast that’s a nice change from just lettuce.

  • Smoked Sausage (Pork, Chicken Apple, Beef)
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Massaged Kale/Collards
  • Hot Brown Rice
  • Minced Red Pepper
  • Minced Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Minced Shallots
  • MInced Hot Chili Peppers (jalapenos, serranos, long hots)
  • Corn Kernels (Steamed or Roasted)
  • Cucumbers (diced 1/2-inch)
  • Fresh Tomatoes (diced 1/2-inch)
  • Avocado (diced 1/2-inch)
  • Lemon/Lime Juice (or Salad Dressing of Choice)

Give this salad version a try when you’re absolutely tired of eating the same salad every day.  Since the Kale is more resilient than lettuce you can pack a couple lunches days ahead.  Just do hot stuff in one container and cold stuff in another.  I promise if you can finish the salad you’ll be stuffed!

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