Here in the south (YES Kentucky is in the south… the Mason-Dixon line says so) there is a tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Their shape and abundance represent coins, and they are thought to bring prosperity.
It is also tradition to accompany them with a leafy green vegetable, such as kale, collards, or cabbage, the leaves of which are the color of money, again assuring prosperity. I’m not typically superstitious but I can get behind this delicious one!
I always get the urge to clean, rearrange, and organize stuff right after Christmas. Good thing, too, because it’s the only workout I get during the holidays.)
So in an effort to clean out my fridge, I used some leftover Italian roast beef I’d thrown in the freezer afew weeks back. It had some yummy sauce with it, so I used it instead of the stew beef and omitted the tomato paste.
I added some brown rice to my serving and enjoyed it with some Glory brand seasoned collard greens, which I hit with a little red wine vinegar. A leafy green salad could substitute; it would be a good way to get back to healthy eating after over-indulging on sugar, carbs, and alcohol for six weeks.
If you’re southern… if you’re superstitious… even if you’re neither… it’s a great meal to to assure luck and prosperity for the coming year. All thanks to a humble little legume!
1 lb beef stew meat, cut into small pieces (or leftover beef roast)
3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 T tomato paste
2 T Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
6 cups beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
½ pound lentils, rinsed and inspected for rocks and other weird stuff
¼ cup hot sauce
¼ cup dry sherry
Heat olive oil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-hi heat. Add beef in two batches, and brown the surface, about 3-4 minutes per batch. (Omit this step if using leftover beef.) Remove the meat and set aside. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic; saute until the onion is translucent. Add the meat to the pan along with the remaining ingredients except the hot sauce and sherry, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer and stir occasionally for 30-40 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Add the hot sauce and sherry, adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.