Field peas for luck and greens for money. That is how it goes in the South. A traditional New Years meal, the first meal, should have field peas (usually black-eyed peas) and greens (usually collards). The peas bring luck and the greens bring wealth and together bring a prosperous year. It has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. I decided this year to come up with my own version of the classic.
As a kid growing up the whole house stunk on New Years day. The huge pot of collards would stew all day with a big old ham hock. Also, black-eyed peas don’t exactly have the best smell either. When we smelled the cornbread we knew it was “fixin to be” (almost) time to eat. We never got a meat, you just fought over the bits of ham hock that would break up in the greens.
I have to admit, I wasn’t a true believer as a kid. The greens weren’t my favorite so I poured vinegar over them. I didn’t love black-eyed peas so I poured ketchup and hot sauce on them. Something about those flavors blending together though, yum! The bitter greens with the smokey/savory ham hock and sour vinegar combined with the earthy peas, sweet ketchup and spicy hot sauce and the crunchy cornbread to sop it all up made an indelible impression. Over the years I have come to love this meal. Now that I’m older I finally decided to put my own spin on it.
I don’t have a smoker, some day I will, but I don’t have one now. The faux sous vide / faux “smoked” turkey was dreamed up to provide a “real” protein and add that smoke since I wasn’t using a ham hock. The sous vide was inspired by this Skillet Roasted Chicken recipe. I could not believe how the turkey turned out. It tasted just like it had been smoked. With the greens, I added the vinegar to mimic what I liked as a kid and it totally tasted just like I used to eat them. I have no idea if the Mirepoix/Holy Trinity of vegetables added to the black-eyed peas is traditional or not but they were also fantastic. Full disclosure, I over seasoned the peas a bit and that is why I suggested low/no sodium stock in the recipe below.
Over all this one brought me back to when I was a kid. I loved it. My “perfect” meals always have something savory, crunchy, creamy, sweet, sour and spicy. This one has all that plus. The smoked turkey turned out way better than I could have hoped and paired very well with the rest. The “not stewed all day long” greens were spicy and sour. The blacked-eyed peas with the vegetables and herbs, as I said, added an earthy, creamy, comfort to the meal. And like when I was a kid, the cornbread was there to sop all that goodness up. But where was the crunch? Oh did I mention, TURKEY SKIN CHIPS. That should be all I have to say.
Give this whole meal or just some of the components a try and let me know how it turns out in the comments.
Happy New Year!
Use your best judgement here, I just added and tasted until I liked it.
- 2-3 tbsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp ground aleppo pepper
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp ground chipotle pepper
- 1 tbsp applewood smoked sea salt
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large turkey breast (skin on, bone in)
- 4 (or more) slices applewood smoke bacon (I prefer Niman Ranch), julienne
- 12-24 ounces fresh black-eyed peas (dried or canned if need be)
- 2 large bunches of collard greens (or mustard, kale), stems and ribs removed, chopped
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, 2 minced and 2 smashed
- Crushed red pepper flake
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2-4 cups low or no sodium turkey stock (or chicken stock)
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Olive Oil
- Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper
- 1 packet Jiffy Cornbread mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup aged cheddar cheese, grated
Directions (the day before serving)
- The night before, add all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and whisky together. Taste and add more or less of each to taste. It should taste more smokey and more seasoned then you might want.
- Remove the skin from the turkey breast and set aside. Try to keep it in tacked. Some times they come right off, other times you’ll need a pairing knife.
- Poke a few holes in the turkey breast with the pairing knife and place in a large zip top bag with the marinade . Fill a large pot with cold water. With part of the bag open, slowly lower the bag into the water to remove all the air. Remove as much air as you can, it should seem like a vacuum seal. Seal the zip top bag and place in the pot. Turn the heat to medium and allow the water to reach 150 degrees F. Once the water temperature is at 150 F, cover the pot, turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit for 50 minutes. After 50 minutes, remove the bag, dry it and place in the refrigerator to chill over night.
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Take two baking sheets (preferably one would be slightly smaller than the other), line the top of one (the larger one) and the bottom of the other (the smaller one) with tin foil. Place a piece of parchment paper on the first pan, spread the turkey skin out flat, season with a little salt and pepper, top that with another piece of parchment, top that with the second sheet pan. Finally, place a heavy skillet or oven proof dutch oven on top and place in the oven for 30 minutes or so. Once the skin is crisp and brown, place between paper towels and allow to cool. Wrap in foil and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- If you are using dried black-eyed peas, place in water to soak. Skip this if you are using fresh or pre-soaked peas
Directions (the day of serving)
- Heat a medium or large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon, cook until rendered and remove with slotted spoon. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. When the oil shimmer add the diced onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper. When the vegetables are almost translucent, add the minced garlic and season with salt and pepper. Toss until the garlic is no longer raw then add the black-eyed peas and toss until coated with the oil. Add the bacon, fresh thyme (I leave it on the sprigs), bay and turkey stock to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 30-40 minutes until the peas are tender. Stir often and add more stock or water as needed. Before serving, I smashed some of the peas to thicken the sauce. Season again to taste and keep warm. Also, remove the thyme stems and bay leaves.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet (or oven proof pan) over medium high heat. Season the turkey and sear on all sides and place in the oven. Roast until internal temperature is 165 degrees F (I usually take it out earlier but…), remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Heat another large pot over medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil, crushed red pepper and the remaining smashed garlic cloves. Stir until the pan is to temperature not allowing the pepper to burn. Add the collard greens and toss to coat. Add white wine, apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt, cover and reduce the heat. Cook until wilted to your liking, about 15-20 minutes. Keep warm.
- Combine the Jiffy cornbread mix, two eggs, buttermilk, half the cheese and cracked black pepper to taste. Allow to it sit for 20 minutes.
- Mix the cornbread mixture once more than place in pre-sprayed muffin pan. Top with the remaining cheese and set aside.
- Place the muffins in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and the tops are browned.
- Place the turkey skin from the day before on a pan and heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
- To serve I put the greens down, then the black-eyed peas, then the sliced turkey and topped with the crushed turkey skin chips. Enjoy!