There’s an old tradition in the Southern U.S. where you eat collard greens, black eyed peas and cornbread on New Year’s Day for good luck and good fortune. The collards are flat and green like cash, the cornbread is gold and resembles big 24K bars, and the peas are meant to represent coins. While I didn’t grow up in the South, my dad was born and raised in Georgia, and I can’t recall a new year that didn’t start with this meal. Even as a kid who wouldn’t eat green things and didn’t care for that savory beans taste, I had a spoonful because I didn’t want to miss out on a chance for a lucky year. I’d like to think it’s worked out so far.
In an effort to simplify in this new year, I decided to combine the main components of that meal into a soup that you can start early and let simmer all day. I’m calling it Jackpot Soup. It’s never a bad time to give the recipe a shot, but make sure to bookmark it for the next time January 1st comes around. Vinegar might seem like an odd addition but it helps cut the bitterness, as does serving with a starch like cornbread. I tried Trader Joes cornbread mix with this recipe and found that I like it even better than the old standby $0.50 Jiffy mix in the blue box.
This actually a fairly healthful recipe. I hesitate to call it a detox soup because of the pork, but you’re definitely getting a good dose of fiber and vitamins here, along with serious nourishment. That alone makes you kinda lucky, right?
Save the printable PDF. I’ll be making them to go along with all my recipes so you can print them and put them in a binder. In a plastic page protector. Mmmm office supplies…
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 c. (8 oz.) Pancetta, chopped finely
Mirepoix (a fancy French term for celery/onion/carrot):
4 ribs of celery, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 c. carrots, chopped
1 bag (or 8 c.) collard greens, chopped roughly
1 can diced tomatoes
1 T. Creole Seasoning
Dash red pepper flakes
sale/pepper to taste
1 small bag of frozen black eyed peas (or 1 can, drained) (or 8 oz. fresh)
1 box or approx 6 c. chicken broth (I like using 1 T. Better than Bullion with 6 c. water)
2 T. apple cider vinegar
Dash of sweetener (sugar/honey/agave/Splenda/stevia) (optional, but recommended)
1. In a large pot or dutch oven over Medium heat, drizzle about 1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
2. Once pan is hot, add Pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, till light brown.
3. Add mirepoix (carrots, celery and onion) and cook, stirring frequently, till veggies soften and begin to brown (about 5-10 minutes).
4. Add greens and tomatoes, then season everything with Cajun seasoning, small dash of nutmeg, red pepper flakes (crush in your hand a bit before adding), and approximately 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper. This is just a start: you can adjust these seasonings to your taste along the way.
5. Add Black Eyed Peas. Cover the whole lot with broth or water plus bullion. Add as much water as needed to cover your greens by about 3 inches.
6. Simmer on Low for 1.5-2.5 hours. You can also toss it all into a slow cooker at this point and simmer for 3-6 hours on low.
7. About 1/2 hour before serving, add vinegar and sweetener (if using) and stir. I used about a tablespoon of agave in here. All of these moves help to cut the bitterness of the greens.
8. Serve with cornbread…make that from a box; it’s all good.