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30 December, 2008

A Southern Tradition and a Recipe for Collards

Here in the South, we have a traditional New Year's Day peas and collard greens. They are supposed to bring you good luck, good health and plenty of money for the new year. I've eaten them almost every New Year's Day since I was a little girl and it has become a meal that I really look forward to. But I'll bet your first question is...does it really work? Well, let's just say that the year I didn't have them was not a good one and I haven't skipped them since! Let me explain how it works. Let's start with the black-eyed peas. If you are from the South, you know that these represent the coins you will get in the new year. My money tree is shriveling, so I'm eating a lot of peas!

Ohhhhhh...alright!! Now here's what I really love...collard greens!! They are sooo good and good for you, too. No...really...they are. And besides, they represent the dollar bills you'll have next year. You can even add a well-scrubbed dime to the pot for additional luck. The person who gets the dime is considered extra lucky. Now some people say they don't like them and to that I bragging here,'ve never had my collards! I am a stomp-down good Southern-style cook...nothing fancy...just plain old fashioned country cooking. And since I am getting older and worried about my recipes out-living me, I'm going to give you mine.

The traditional recipe calls for ham hocks as pictured above. They are supposed to bring prosperity. But I'm sorry... I just have to draw the line here. I figure pork is pork. My secret ingredient is a HoneyBaked ham bone. I checked online and they seem to have stores in every state. Now you can cut most of the meat off of your Christmas HoneyBaked ham and use the bone or you can buy one at their store for about $6.00. If you buy the bone, you will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of meat that's still there! You can even cut most of that off and use it to season your other veggies...maybe even have a sandwich!

New Years Collard Greens
Wash thoroughly and strip the stems out of 2 bundles of collard greens. Strip the greens by folding them in half lengthwise and just tearing out the stem. Some people eat the stems...I think they're tough. Next cut or tear the remaining greens into smaller pieces.
While you are doing this, put the HoneyBaked ham bone in a large pot and fill 2/3 with water. Bring to a boil.
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic diced fine (or about 1 teaspoon of the already diced in the jar.)
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning ( I're thinking...Old Bay in collards? But I saw this in Southern Living magazine and tried it. I really like the way it tastes!)
Add the collard greens a double handful at a time. You will think the pot is too small, but don't worry. They will cook way down. I usually cook them about two hours. When they are done, remove the ham bone and serve! It's that ham bone that makes the difference!

The wonderful liquid in the bottom of the pot is called pot likker and it's really yummy with cornbread. Besides that, it's full of nutrients so it's good for you, too!
All of these foods have grown out of African traditions from the plantations in the South where the slaves had to do the best they could with the cast-offs from the kitchen of the main house. The saying goes...Eat poor on New Year's Day and eat fat the rest of the year.
You might poo-poo this whole thing, and it's OK if you do, but in this economy, I'm not taking any chances! I'm covering all my bases. As we say here in the South...I'm gonna eat me a whole mess o' greens!


  1. Debbie - I have never added Old Bay. I might have to try this. I forgot to tell you in my Creamed Collard post - when you mentioned you eat collards for breakfast and lunch (LOL), that we have the traditional ones, too. But, my Mom is the Collard Queen of the family and we siblings are not allowed to cook them yet. She says she will pass down the Collard Crown to one of us soon, but each year when we ask who is cooking the collards (the old fashioned ones), she says she will do it one more year. She has been saying this for the past 5 years. LOL We had our offical Collard frost so dad says they are gonna be tender and good. Yoohoo! Bring on the collards. Hugs dear friend, Barb

  2. Since our family can use all the help on all levels I believe I'm heading off to the store tomorrow..hopefully, the tradition will take off and I'll be able to report even in the Midwest this works...Thanks for sharing the recipe Debbie...Happy New Year my friend,
    hugs ~lynne~

  3. I'm laughing because I almost published this same post tonight, only I concentrated on the ham part of it. LOL! I have it scheduled for tomorrow night. I love your banjo music.

    I also love that blue plate. As a matter of fact, if it goes missing, you won't have to look far... or maybe you will since it will be traveling south to a magpie nest! ;-)


    Sheila :-) who loves bluegrass music!

  4. These sound good! My parents were from Texas and also ate collard greens & black eyed peas with okra. Mom was an amazing cook & I really wish she had written her recipes down. (I had no interest in cooking unfortunately.) She made "pepper sauce" for cooked greens. They were tiny peppers with vinegar in a little bottle. Any idea what the little peppers are called? ☺ Diane

  5. Great post Debbie, I've never thought of using Old Bay in collards but it sounds great. We will be eating alot of these this year lol. Even DH will be eating them whether he wants to or not! (he's from Philadelphia and until he met me the only collard he knew was a police term hehe) By the way, I love your new staff directory. Do you hire them out? Hugs, Kathy

  6. My mom's best friend lived in the South for years before she died. I believe she picked up the tradition of eating black eyed peas on New Year's from her friend. Also, her friend told her to place a few of the uncooked peas in her change purse for prosperity. :-) Maybe I'll give it a go this year too!

  7. Fun post! I grew up in the south and still love collards and black eyed peas. We just don't eat them on New Years. Maybe I should start this tradition again now! I have never put Old Bay in my collards. We just use salt and a "streak of lean" or hamhocks. LOVE me a mess of collards. I will definitely give your recipe a try! Happy New Year to you!!

  8. Hi Diane...I'm not sure what the peppers are called. I just buy mine at the grocery store in the little bottle. lol But I've gotta have me some pepper sauce with my collards, too! Happy New Year!...Debbie

  9. I would've neve put old bay in my collards,but if you say it's good.I'll try it.
    Well you already know.I slept in this morning.Sorry.Did you get your award?You so--------- deserve it Deb.You are so honestly kind to ya...Ann

  10. Debbie, your tradition reminds me of my dear mother. She loves collar greens and peas. She is very ill and now she is hardly eating.
    She doesn't open her eyes anymore and my heart is acheing so bad. I have cried for two straight days and blogging keeps my mind off of it. I will be going to see her this week-end. She ask for me yesterday and my sister told her I was comming. I can't even make out what she says on the phone; she is just 78 years old. She has been ill for 12 years now and I think she is tired. Oh, how we use to talk every Sunday morning on the phone like we where high school girlfriends. We told each other everything. gosh, I miss her so bad.
    Take care and thanks for the nice reminder even thou you wouldn't have know.

  11. Yes ma'am are a Southern gal through & through! Collards & black-eyed peas with cornbread sopping up the pot likker... and I'll have to add a hunk of onion on the side of mine...LOL
    Happy New Year my new blogging friend! ;-) Bo

  12. Debbie...I guess being raised in Calif..we missed allot of these Southern things..we just alway have Prime rib and call it a day..but I sure could use some luck in 09 maybe I'll need to run to the store..May you have a safe and blessed year to come dear friend..hugs and smiles Gloria

  13. Debbie, I have the blackeyed peas all ready and bought the collard greens. In Texas we didn't eat the collard greens, but we always had the peas and cornbread with ham. This year I'm definitely going to add the greens and yours and Barb's recipes both sound so good. I may have to cook both. My DH was raised in Calif. and so he knows nothing about good southern cooking, I am still trying to teach him. lol Happy New Year and all of God's Blessings. Hugs, Marty

  14. Oh No! Our good luck dinner has always been black eyed peas, CABBAGE, and corn bread! Now I have to go get some collards too (just in case). I used to boil a dime and then put it in the peas. But, when my grandchildren got upset because they didn't get the dime, I boil 5 dimes for the peas! I'm afraid someone is going to choke on one some day and give a bad start to their new year! One year, one did almost destroy my dispossal! Hope 2009 is a wonderful year for you. I have really enjoyed getting to know you in 2008 and look forward to continuing our cyber friendship. Love ya, laurie

  15. Sounds like you know what you're doing with that southern cooking. At our house we don't use the Bay Seasoning but we do put a little sugar in those collards. We always have that traditional meal at our house as well. Except, I'm the only one here now who will eat the collards - though we are born and raised southerners. I just buy myself a can of collards and spruce them up a bit. Hope you have a very blessed new year! Sharon

  16. I grew up eating blackeyed peas on New Years. There were years, I thought they didn't work, but in the end they've all been fairly good years. When I saw your post I thought to myself, I forgot the peas. There is still time to have some on New Years Day, though.

    Happy New Year Debbie! May those peas bring you health and good fortune!

  17. Hello Debbie & Happy New Years Eve!!!

    Wow...your post sure brought back some memories! I lived in South Texas for 30 yrs. before moving to Colorado...we always had blackeyed peas for New Year's eve!!! When I first moved up north, I mentioned this tradition to my husband and he just looked at me so funny...he had never heard of such a tradition!!! Hehehe...

    Anyway my friend...just wanted to stop by and let you know how much I've enjoyed getting to know you! I pray that the Lord blesses you & yours in the coming New Year!!!

    Warmest wishes...

  18. Happy New Year! My daughter started making collard greens a few years ago and I love them. I'll have to share with her the way that you prepare them. I had never eaten okra or collard greens until I visited my best friend that lives in Florida. I love it.

  19. 31 minutes left in '08.,...HAPPY NEW YEAR

  20. Hello and Happy New Year!!! I just "found" you through Diane of Four Paws----what a treat to read your blog!!!
    I'm a "semi-southern" gal--born in Arkansas, but I've lived in MO most of my life. I don't recall mom fixing black-eyed peas for "good luck", but a friend told me about that tradition several years ago and I have been following that ever since! I just do the peas--no collards or pork. However, that all sounds so yummy, I just might have to fix the rest as you shared!
    Happy New Year!!! Dana

  21. Debbie,
    Hi I just found a blog today,,,what a great
    New Years Present!!! We too are dish addicts..
    best to you and your kitties, (i have two)
    please visit us

  22. Hi Deb,MMMMM! sounds yummy.My mom fixed collard greens whenever we had beans and cornbread and I even liked them as a child.We use a hamhock whenever we make a big pot of pinto beans.I have never cooked blackeyed peas.I have bought the canned ones and added them to green beans with bacon and hubby loves that.My roots are southern even though I am a born and bred Cali girl.I can only imagine the good food and company at your table today. Happy New Year my friend,Hugs to you ,Kathysue

  23. HI DEBBIE,

    ~MELISSA :0

  24. Hi Debbie, I've never cooked collards or black eyed peas on New Years, though my sis normally does. I love to eat both. Wish I'd seen this before I threw out my Honey Baked ham bone about 2 days ago. I'll save your recipe for next year. Sounds really good! What is Old that in the spice section at Publix?
    P.S. I love all your kitty pics! :-)

  25. Hi Debbie thanks for visiting one of my blogs with Kate I hope to see you visit my other blog purdywallcovering.
    sweet pea is my family's and yes you got it right she is a chihuahua. she will be 2 on January 29th. I ejoyed your blog I got 3 spode platters for Thanksgiving yeah

  26. First of all, I made the cheese ball for New Years eve. I made the full recipe and froze half to have, maybe Easter. It is delicious. I also made the punch per Susan's recipe. Also enjoyed it very much. DH had a get together here with DD's family before he set off a small fireworks display for the GC. We got the Welch's Sparkling Red Grape juice cocktail for the children and dipped their cocktail glasses in the juice before rimming them with the colored sugar.

    I have some Old Bay seasoning, but have never used it. What ratio of seasoning to liquid do you use? A guesstimate will give me a starting point. I use to carry pot likker to work in a reheatable glass jar to have for lunch. The guys at work teased me unmercifully about what they called my "swamp water". Truth is Mary Mac has a recipe for turnip green pot likker in her cookbook "Southern Cooking From Mary Mac's Tea Room. I never got to eat there, but my sister bought me the cookbook. She knows I love to collect Southern cookbooks. I know Atlanta misses Mary Mac.

    DH prefers collards, so that is what we have now. I still had the bone from my Thanksgiving ham in the freezer, so the peas were excellent. I had cooked the collards about a month ago, when they ran them on special at the store, so they were already cooked and in the freezer.

    If Mama were here she would take some of the leftover cornbread and crumble it into a tall glass of ice cold buttermilk and eat it with a spoon. She dearly loved it that way.

  27. Let's eat! Yeee haw...LOL
    (said in love from southern to southern) xo

  28. Hi Glenda...I'm so glad you enjoyed the cheese ball! It sounds like you and your family had a good time! Your celebration sounds like mine. My grandson spent the night and we set off fireworks bought at Publix...just glorified sparklers basically...and drank sparkling grape juice. He was very proud of himself because he managed to stay up until midnight...he's 8...but was a little disappointed in the ball in NYC. I think he wondered if it was worth the effort! lol My dad LOVED buttermilk. I could never understand since I don't even like regular milk! When I made my collards, I would say there was about 3 quarts of water and I added 2 teaspoons of Old Bay. The original recipe was in Southrn Living several years ago and was called "Esau's Collard Greens." He actually used a whole tablespoon, but my daughter thought it was too much. I seem to be able to slip in 2 teaspoons without complaint. Have a great weekend!...Debbie

  29. I saw the measurement for the Old Bay, but wasn't sure how much water or ham stock you started with. I will definitely try this next time I cook collards. Don't remember what I even bought the Old Bay for, but now I have a way to use it. Thanks again.

  30. Debbie,
    Not being a southern gal I found this very interesting, and your cheese ball looks wonderful. Wishing you a Happy Easter. meow...Cathy


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie