The only traditions our family had for New Year’s were to eat some black-eyed peas and cabbage. One is for good luck and the other for money, but I always wanted both so I just knew to eat a bite of each and I was good for a year, no need to memorize what goes with what.
I do think cabbage is the money one since lettuce is slang for dollar bills.
So I went to the grocery for the ingredients. There is no tasso (smoked pork chunks) here, but I did see some smoked hog jowls. I have never eaten that before, but what the hey, I’m a Cajun and it looked ghetto enough to go in my smothered cabbage.
Does that sound scary? Smothered cabbage?
It always did to me, especially when I was little. How about smothered chicken? I could just hear the poor chickie squaking as my mom shoved the lid down on that pot.
Anyway, I’ve been gone from Louisiana so long I second guessed myself on how to smother cabbage. I think my mom used to boil down the cabbage first, then smother it. But I don’t know, it seems like that would boil out the vitamins.
So I checked the trusty internet and found this recipe on cooks.com:
Okay, I know you won’t hit that link so I’ll just show you an excerpt. This is a real recipe.
Saute onion, garlic and bell pepper in butter. Remove all stuffing from pillow and replace with sauteed seasonings. Set aside. Wash heads of cabbage using warm water and a mild shampoo. Dry thoroughly using a blow dryer and diffuser. Place cabbage heads on a soft surface. Cover the cabbage heads with the pillow and press firmly until cabbage is completely smothered.
(You will know they are smothered when they stop screaming). Remove pillow…
Anyway. Here’s how I do mine.
2 heads cabbage
some bacon, tasso, or hog jowls
salt and pepper
onion and bell pepper
can of chicken broth
Cut cabbage into two inch cubess. Put in a gigantic pot of boiling water or steamer and cook until wilted. While that’s cooking, fry bacon and drain off almost all the fat. Throw your onions, peppers, and garlic in there and saute. Add can of chicken broth, then toss in the steamed cabbage a little at a time because it can’t all fit in the pot at once. It cooks down a lot. As it shrinks, add more cabbage. Keep the lid on tight while it cooks on medium low flame. Stir often.
That’s my steamed cabbage being added (upper right) and the smothered cabbage (left). This is how much one head cooks down. The whole deal takes about a couple of hours to cook.
And that’s it for the holiday cooking season. I’m exhausted and damn glad it’s all over. I feel like a new person already.