Good Luck Foods: What will you be serving to get the New Year started with a little luck?
Hmmmm… Good luck foods… I have to admit, this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge had me stumped. With the exception of my husband’s insistence on watching at least a few episodes of the Three Stooges marathon (what is it about guys and the Stooges?), New Year’s eve is usually different for us each year – some years we’re home with no agenda, other years we’re with friends eating potluck or Chinese, and occasionally, we’re out to a nice dinner at a restaurant. Short of the usual midnight champagne toast, we don’t have any food traditions. New Year’s day is always spent taking down the tree and Christmas decorations, so it’s usually a grab what you can kind of a night. Crazy, but I honestly never thought about eating a certain food for good luck in the New Year.
And clearly, that’s been the problem! Knock on wood, we haven’t had any really bad luck, but I now see why I haven’t won the lottery, or any of those Recipe ReDux sponsored recipe contests. So I’m on it…
Since I don’t have my own food tradition, I actually had to do some research on lucky foods for the New Year, and here’s what I found for recurrent themes that symbolize wealth, prosperity, forward motion, long life yada yada:
Grapes. Supposedly, according to Spanish and Portuguese tradition, if you eat 12 grapes at exactly the stroke of midnight, you’ll have good luck. I like grapes, but my mouth is too small, and I would choke, and that would be bad luck.
Pork. Apparently, pigs symbolize progress and prosperity. The only pork I really enjoy eating is bacon, and it’s not a good choice for a blog sponsored by nutritionists.
Cake with a coin baked inside. Hello? A cracked tooth and emergency dental surgery on a day when no dentist’s office is open doesn’t sound very lucky to me.
Fish. OK, this I can do. Except that Mr. Craving often likes to spring for lobster for New Year’s Eve/day, and apparently that is on the DO NOT EAT list. It seems that lobsters move backwards and symbolize setbacks. I’m remembering all the years he cooked lobster…
Greens. In many countries, greens are eaten for New Year’s luck, because they look like money, and the more you eat, the more money you’ll have. Sounds good to me!
Beans. Another symbol of prosperity, because little round beans look like coins.
OK, so it just so happens I tried a fabulous recipe for Lentil, Spicy Sausage and Spinach Soup a few weeks ago, and because it has THREE lucky foods in it, this will be our new, New Year’s lucky food. I think we’ll eat it on January 1 from here on out, because it’s a quick and easy, and warm and hearty way to start the New Year. I’ll let you know if my luck suddenly changes!
The lucky ingredients in this soup are the lentils (coins), spinach (paper money) and sausage (pork, prosperity and progress). Personally, as much as I like progress, I encourage you to use turkey sausage, which is lower in fat and a healthier start to the New Year 🙂
What are your lucky foods?
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 medium stalks of celery diced
- 4 medium cloves of garlic minced
- 4 links of low fat spicy Italian turkey sausage or lean pork sausage
- 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried fennel seed crushed
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes with juice
- 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach thawed
- 1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
- 2 dried bay leaves
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and sauté onion and celery for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to brown. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.
Remove sausage from casings, and crumble into pot. Cook, stirring well to break up sausage and combine with onion mixture, until sausage is no longer pink.
Add hot pepper flakes, thyme, oregano and fennel seed to pot and sauté for another 1 minute.
Add the chicken broth, tomatoes with juice, spinach, lentils and bay leaves to the stockpot.
Bring soup to a boil, and then reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until lentils are soft when you bite into one.
When lentils are cooked, remove the bay leaves and discard.
Remove about 1/3 of the soup, and use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree this soup. Add pureed soup back into the pot and stir to combine.
Simmer soup, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe doubles nicely, and freezes well.
Do you have any lucky foods?