Traditions are so often centered around food, and the Southern New Year’s Day meal is no exception! According to Southern lore, you will have good luck for the entire year if you eat the traditional New Year’s Day supper; this means a feast of collard greens, hoppin’ John, black eyed peas, cornbread, and pot likker soup.
As we look ahead to the new year, Alyssa Maute Smith is sharing her mouth-watering recipe for collard greens, which she prepares each New Year’s Day. Try it out for yourself and let us know what you think!
New Year’s Day is one of my most favorite days of the year. Over the years this day has taken many iterations, but each of them is centered around family, good food, and a feeling of immense gratitude to celebrate another year. Growing up this meal was one that was shared with my parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Now I have the honor of cooking this meal for my family.
Our New Year’s Day dinner consists of collard greens, mac + cheese, cornbread, hoppin’ John, and pork with sauerkraut. The pork with sauerkraut is a tradition added from my aunt’s family. It’s a German tradition and ever since having it at a New Year’s Day meal at her house, we have incorporated it into our dinners.
I have learned to cook from my Mom and my Mama. If you ask Mama how she makes something her answer is always “oh, I don’t know how to tell you – I just make it.” And that’s how I cook. I cook by feeling, smell, and taste. It makes cooking an adventure and a whole lot of fun. I have done my best to transcribe in recipe format how I cook my collard greens, but it may not turn out the exact same for you. Don’t be afraid to taste, smell, and alter based on your liking!
Collard Greens Recipe
- 2 large bunches collard greens
- Meaty ham hock (I have even used an old ham bone if I had one leftover from Christmas dinner)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- Dash of hot sauce
- The hardest and most time consuming part of making collard greens is getting them cleaned and prepared to cook. Some people leave the stems on them; however, I strip the leaves from the stems so I am only cooking the leafy part. I compost my stems.
- Add the ham hock and garlic to the pot and fill with water (or for more flavor, I have even added a chicken stock) to cover the bone. Cook for about 30 minutes.
- Add in the greens, salt, pepper, and if needed add more water to cover the greens.
- Cover and cook on low for several hours until tender. I continue to check my pot to see if I need more liquid and salt to taste.