Living in northwestern Montana doesn’t keep us from our deep south traditions of eating cabbage and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Yes, it’s superstitious, but if you think about it many traditions are. For example, the custom of setting off fireworks on New Year’s Eve was originally practiced to ward off evil spirits.
Eating black-eyed peas bring you good luck.
The custom of eating black-eyed peas dates back to the Civil War. Considered animal food and not worthy of General Sherman’s Union Troops, the Yankees raided the Confederate supplies and stole everything except for the peas and salt pork.
Surviving the winter on the meager supply of peas and pork that was left, the Confederates considered themselves lucky to be alive. Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s became symbolic of luck, and southerners continue the tradition to this day.
Eating cabbage brings you wealth.
Eating a serving of cabbage on New Year’s day symbolizes money or prosperity for the upcoming year. Not sure how this tradition got started, but most people think they could use a little extra dough.
Eating cabbage on New Year’s Day will do nothing if the dollar collapses and becomes worthless. Stocking up your garage with toilet paper would be a more advantageous holiday endeavor.
With that said, let’s get to the recipe.
This recipe for Southern Style Smothered Cabbage comes from my husband who learned it from his mother. He taught me how to make it when we were newlyweds. The cabbage is slow-cooked in its own liquid, as opposed to boiling in lots of water the way my mom used to prepare it. Browning the vegetables incorporates their subtle flavor notes for a true southern dish. Sorry Mom, I’ve abandoned my German heritage for this time-tested smothered cabbage.
Southern Style Smothered Cabbage
- 1 head of green cabbage
- 1 small bell pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 onion
- Hot sausage links or rope sausage of your choice
Slice sausage and saute until brown. Add bell pepper, garlic, and onion to the sausage drippings and cook until soft. Add chopped cabbage.* Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until cabbage is tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
*Do not add liquid to the pan as cabbage has a high water content. Just make sure that you cook on low heat to prevent burning.
Serve along with a dish of black-eyed peas and a side of mashed potatoes for a tasty New Year’s Day meal.