soup is good (luck) food

New Year’s Good Fortune Soup has become something of a tradition in my house the last couple of years.  While I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s been a harbinger of extraordinarily good fortune, it certainly hasn’t hurt  matters either. I think.  Plus, it just so happens to be both simple, delicious, and – how shall I delicately put this? – cleansing, which makes it the perfect palliative for a lazy New Year’s Day.  Greens and beans are long a Southern tradition – served with rice it’s called Hoppin’ John, another traditional good-luck dish – and for this simple soup you’ll find the staples in virtually any neighborhood grocery: collard greens, for their resemblance to money; black-eyed peas, which symbolize coins – those others grimly claim they represent Confederate soldiers; and pork, because, well, what soup isn’t enhanced by a fresh ham hock or slab of bacon?  In a good-sized pot saute an onion in a little olive oil.  Stir in a pinch of thyme, oregano, a few shakes of hot sauce and a pound of dried black-eyed peas, which have been soaked overnight and rinsed.  Add a half pound of roughly chopped pork/ham/bacon and a few quarts of stock and/or water and allow to simmer for an hour until the peas are tender.  Cut your collards into ribbons, add to the soup and cook another 15 minutes.  Voila, that’s it. Finish with a grind or two of fresh pepper before ladling into bowls and divining the winning lottery numbers.

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