New Year's Good Luck Foods
Whole-Grain Corn Bread
Cornbread is the color of gold, and fits into our Southern-themed menu, so of course it belongs on your New Year’s Day table. This classic version gets a whole-grain spin with white whole-wheat flour. Buttermilk ensures a tender crumb. We love the simplicity of this version, but you could stir in cooked crumbled bacon, chopped green onion, or a dash of ground red pepper to kick up the heat. A cast-iron skillet is essential here: it gives the cornbread a gorgeous crust.
Cooked greens look like folded money (sensing a theme here?) and are eaten around the world to symbolize good fortune. Collards can braise for hours, but this recipe is ready in less than 25 minutes. If you don’t like collard greens or can’t find them, substitute stemmed curly kale or turnip greens. A splash of vinegar after cooking perks up the whole dish. You could also sprinkle with crushed red pepper or a splash of hot sauce.
Smoky Black-Eyed Peas
Peas, beans, and lentils symbolize money (many even look like little coins!). Black-eyed peas are traditional in the Southern US. Start with dried peas that have bean soaked overnight—they will become starchy and creamy with slow simmering, and absorb all the salty, meaty notes from the ham hock. Chop the meat and stir back into the cooked peas, then save the bone for stock or give to your (very lucky) pup.
Round out the moneymaking sides at your New Year’s Day feast with a simple main of baked cod or sablefish. Fish is often seen at Jewish or Chinese New Year’s celebrations, a symbol of fertility, abundance, and—you guessed it—good fortune. This recipe uses just five ingredients, but the flavor payoff is huge, especially if you take an extra minute to toast and grind the whole cumin seeds.
Honey-Orange Pork Tenderloin
If you’re not in the mood for fish, opt for simply roasted pork tenderloin. Pigs symbolize progress, perhaps because they nose their way forward as they sniff the ground for something good. They also might remind you of a certain money saving device for the spare change you’re likely to collect over the coming year. Intensely floral, faintly bitter orange marmalade is the base for a beautiful sticky glaze that’s brushed on the tenderloin before roasting.
Fresh Ginger Cake with Candied Citrus Glaze
Round and ring-shaped cakes are most common for New Year’s celebrations, a wish for a fulfilling, complete year. The Bundt is about as decorative a ring as you’re likely to find, and the perfect way to end your feast. Fresh ginger, ginger ale, and tart candied kumquats have the zing that will put a spring in your first step of the New Year. And malty, sweet golden cane syrup in the cake batter continues the prosperity theme.
Seared Grouper With Black-Eyed Pea Relish
A big batch of Smoky Black-Eyed Peas is perfect for a New Year’s celebration, and the leftovers are even better the next day. Turn some of the peas into a bright, colorful topper for simply sautéed fish. Make ahead for even better flavor the next day. You could also serve the relish with baked tortilla chips for a snack, or top a salad for an extra bit of fiber and protein in your lunch.
Black-eyed Pea-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Use up a big batch of savory, Smoky Black-Eyed peas on another weeknight with by binding the peas with tangy goat cheese, chopped bell pepper, and herbs and spooning into roasted butternut squash halves. The stuffed halves make for a beautiful presentation, especially when sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs. The stuffed squash won’t be vegetarian because of the ham hock in the cooked peas, but you can leave this out if you like.