Dec 30th, 2007

Customary Vices

Being a Nice Jewish Girl, dishes which include ham hocks (collard greens, hoppin john) are not part of my repertoire in the kitchen. On the other hand, being a Nice Southern Girl, they should be. So I make broccoli rabe instead of collard greens, or I make mustard greens, or other bitter greens that can be well-made without ham parts. But for New Year’s a southerner just has to have hoppin john (that’s black eyed peas with ham and stuff) for a year of good luck. Fortunately for me, my worlds collide on this matter, because there is a traditional Sephardic dish for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) which contains, not ham hocks, but veal or lamb. It’s muy yummy. You have the time, and you have been told about its good luck bringing qualities, so make yourself a mess of this, and have a lovely new year.

Lubyeh (from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America)

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 pound veal stew meat, cut into one-inch cubes

2 cups water

1 cup black eyed peas, soaked overnight in water

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1. In a heavy skillet with a cover, saute the onions and garlic lightly in the oil

2. Add the cubed veal and brown briefly. Add 1 1/2 cups of the water, cover and simmer slowly for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, drain and simmer the black eyed peas in water to cover for 20 minutes. Drain and add the peas, salt, pepper, spices, tomato paste, and the remaining 1/2 cup water to the veal mixture. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour or until the peas and veal are tender. If the stew dries out, add a little more water. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings