New Year's Day Recipes: Hoppin' John and Plenty of Pork

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What are you cooking on New Year's Day?

My mom always serves pork. Somewhere along the way, she picked up this idea that if you eat chicken on the first day of January "you'll scratch and scratch all year." We're not a superstitious family, but we think it is a fun tradition to play along with.

We found the Lee Brother's recipe for Hoppin' John -- "the pre-eminent rice and pea dish of the Western world, a nutritional marvel, the culinary touchstone of the African diaspora and a hangover remedy without equal" -- in the New York Times a few years ago and added that to my New Year's Day recipe collection.Pick up some dried black eyed peas tonight, set the peas out to soak before you head out on New Year's Eve, and you'll be all set for Hoppin' John on New Year's Day.

So we're not left scratching and scratching through 2008, we're considering a new pork recipe: the Braised-pork Hash from the January issue of Gourmet. It seems like that recipe could be adapted for the crock pot and cooked on New Year's Eve while the beans soak.

The best part of both these dishes is they are easy, straightforward one pot meals. We cooks been serving rich, time-intensive celebration foods since Thanksgiving, right? Hoppin' John and brasied pork are luxurious, warming dishes that spare the cook. Gourmet says the pork doesn't even need to be browned before it goes into the braise. That's all the more time to enjoy the champagne.

What are your plans for New Year's Day? Any idea where this anti-chicken stance comes from?

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