So we’ve discussed that Black-Eyed Peas are good luck on New Year’s Day, representing any number of things. Greens are said to bring prosperity in the New Year, largely because they represent foldin’ money. Many people choose to cook up a mess of collards or turnip greens, but I choose cabbage, for what represents a stack of good green money more than cabbage. And like the black-eyed peas, I include some instructions to help the recipe along.
This is a real trip South, cooking greens with smoked turkey necks, but that lovely smoky flavor makes a real difference. And it can be a nice departure to cook the greens with turkey if you cook your black-eyed peas with ham. I find the turkey necks in the smoked meat section of the store (did you know there was a smoked meat section?), where I also find ham hocks, other smoked turkey parts and salt pork and the like. If you can’t find smoked turkey necks, a smoked ham hock will do. And when buying the cabbage, look for a whole head with the darker green outer leaves still attached. You may find these more readily at farmer’s or produce markets, or ask the produce person in the supermarket if they have a head that hasn’t been cleaned up for display. Don’t worry about blemishes, and just rinse off those outer leaves. The dark green leaves really add color and texture to the finished product. These greens can be left simmering on the stove for hours, you can even take them off the heat mid-way and then start up again if you get interrupted. If you’d like to pull the meat off the turkey necks and serve it with the cabbage you can, though there won’t be too much meat, or just discard them. If you use a ham hock, I’d definitely serve the meat.
Foldin’ Money Cabbage
I usually find the turkey necks already cut into pieces, so I use about 4 chunks. Or cut up a whole neck.
1 smoked turkey neck, cut into chunks
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons Creole seasoning (I like Tony Chachere’s)
1 head green cabbage, with the dark outer leaves intact
Put four cups of water in a large Dutch oven (5- 7 quart) and add the turkey necks. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the sugar and Creole seasoning, stir, cover and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse the cabbage well to clean those outer leaves. Do not discard the dark green leaves. Cut the cabbage in half and remove the core from each side. Slice each cabbage half into thin strips, then cut the strips in half. Make sure to get the dark outer leaves cut into strips, they tend to fall off when slicing.
Remove the turkey necks and set aside. Drop in the cabbage strips, shuffling to separate them, into the simmering water. Give the cabbage a quick stir, then cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the cover and check that the cabbage is wilted down. If not, cover again and simmer until it is. When the cabbage is wilted, cook over medium-low heat with the cover half on the pan for an hour or so until the liquid is reduced to just a little potlikker in the pan.
Makes 4 nice bowls