The end of the old year and the ringing in of the new is often a time for lucky food. In China you might eat a plate of dumplings looking for one with a coin inside — shades of the bean-sized Jesus doll baked into king cakes eaten before the onset of Lent, the sixpence in Christmas pudding, or the coin Greeks bake into Vasilopeta for New Year’s Day. Germans can ensure their luck with pork and sauerkraut, while the Japanese eat herring roe for luck. Poles sometimes eat pickled herring, and those lucky Scots have the traditional Hogmanay haggis. But for my money, the best lucky New Year food is hoppin’ John or a plate of black-eyed peas. Without further ado, I present V.‘s New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas, a smash hit with our New Year’s guests:
Sauté 1 chopped onion, 1 minced shallot, 2 bay leaves, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 1/2 t. epazote in 2T olive oil over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 t. red pepper flakes or ground chipotle and a pinch of allspice and cook a minute more. Add 4 c. vegetable broth and 1 1/2 c. black-eyed peas, and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down as low as it will go. Simmer for 40 minutes, partially covered. Add the salt and chili sauce (normal or green Tabasco, Magic Rooster sauce, you name it) to taste and simmer at least 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Serve. Eat. Contemplate just how lucky you are. And don’t forget to say "rabbit, rabbit" — Dame Fortune ain’t a lady to trifle with!