new years day traditional southern fare with a twist

What do you consider traditional southern fare on New Years day? To me it’s greens and black-eyed peas with some pork thrown in there.

Braised pork belly
Prep time: 10-20 minutes
Marinade time: 6 hours
Cook time: 8.5-braise + sauce and final broiling

From Marshall’s birthday and new year

1. Marinate in soy sauce, 2 star anise and ginger powder. 6 hours minimum, overnight is best. IF you think about it, cut a cross-hatch pattern in the skin using a super sharp knife. If the marinade is too shallow, make sure you flip the meat at least once.
2. Put your oven on 225 bake or 200 convection, and cook the meat for 8 hours in a covered braising dish in the marinade. This can be an aluminum pan with foil covering, an enameled dutch oven, you name it.
3. When it’s done (pull apart tender), separate the meat from the braising liquid. Reduce the liquid until soup (coats the back of the spoon).
4. Beware oversaltiness. If it gets that way, dilute it with water to the concentration of saltiness you want, and thicken with some type of starch (xanthan gum, corn starch, etc.). I like the gum powders because it doesn’t change the color of the liquid. Bring to a boil and reduce to low simmer to see the effect of your starch.
5. Prior to service, broil the pork belly skin up on high until it browns, slice and serve with sauce.

Notes:
*I found the star anise and fresh pork belly at the Asian market. The belly was about 4-5 dollars, and a big bag of star anise was less than that.
**Be on the lookout for some bacon recipes. I’ll probably source my pork belly differently, but realize it’s the same cut of meat.

Pressure cooker braised collard greens
Prep time: 10 minutes (unless you make your own stock)
Cook time: 10 minutes active + 20 minutes in pressure cooker

1. My pressure cooker holds 8 quarts, I can fit about 2-3 pounds of collard greens that are washed and cut, leaving the stems in place. You can alternatively use kale, swiss chard, turnip greens, etc or a mix of any or all of the above. The traditional Georgia thing is collards though.
2. 1 onion diced, 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced, softened over low-medium heat in neutral oil.
3. Add the greens, and turn to high. I made a basic pork stock out of pork neck bones and used this with a good punch of salt. Don’t add more than about a quart of liquid. If you don’t have pork stock, you use chicken stock, or just use water with or without a smoked ham hock or chunk of smoked bacon.
4. Secure the lid and when you’re at equilibrium with your pressure cooker, start the timer for 20 minutes.
5. When it’s done, kill the burner and let the heat dissipate slowly.
6. Adjust seasoning, serve with vinegar based hot sauce and biscuits.

Pork stock recipe and micro stocks
It makes your life a heck of a lot easier to make micro stocks. What I mean is that it’s not a “complete” stock that could stand alone, you’re going to add it to something. The “micro” part of it just means you’re eliminating the aromatics. For pork stock, find some sliced pork neck bones that I washed and put in a stock pot with cold water. Simmer for about 6 hours, skim the fat a couple of times, then strain. That’s it. You can make it darker if you want by roasting the bones, but that’s the only difference.
If and when you want aromatics, then add them later. The meat component of your stock is there to provide (1) meat flavor and (2) body, preferably collagen/gelatin. You could go to the trouble of making this with mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery), but you don’t have to, especially when you’re going to make greens with it, because the mirepoix will be overwhelmed by aromatic properties of the greens. Just ask anyone that’s in the house while you’re cooking them.

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