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Feasting for Fortune

I had planned to make several traditional new year's dishes, including an Italian dish of sausage and lentils and an American dish with black-eyed peas with collard greens. Feasting for fortune was the theme I had in mind.

Traditionally, black-eyed peas represent coins while the collard greens with which they are typically served stand in for paper currency. I am certain that lentils and sliced sausages also stand in for coins on Italian tables. But after a late evening stop at three different grocery stores that were completely sold out of the peas - even in a can! yes, I did look - I said, "forget it" and decided to combine my ideas and improvise a dish. Still wanting the look of the black-eyed peas, I soaked and cooked canellini (white beans) and steamed black Forbidden rice.

I soaked the white beans overnight, then changed the water and simmered them until soft - about 90 minutes - with two fresh bay leaves. In the meantime, I cooked the black Forbidden rice in chicken stock. Set both aside.

In a large flat bottom pan I browned shallots and fennel, seasoning with fresh oregano and thyme. Once those are softened, I stirred in the beans, rice, and a cup of chicken stock and cooked that till the stock was absorbed.

In another pan I caramelized more shallots and spinach and lightly browned slices of chicken-basil sausage until warmed through. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with a nice olive oil.

I served this with some new year's mimosas and many toasts of Felice Anno Nuovo!  and Buona Fortuna!


  1. We like to do traditional dishes for New Year's too. Looks like you had a great meal.


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