Feast for Luck in 2011

By: Sara Levine

Coming up short on ideas for a creative and delicious New Year’s Eve menu? You’re in luck, literally. We’ve comprised a mouth-watering menu of dishes from Cooking Channel chefs, each course showcasing foods that are believed bring good fortune for the New Year. Every January we vow to eat better, exercise more, be kinder, or give up whatever our worst vice may be. That all takes work—so a little extra luck can’t hurt.

Boiled cod is part of the traditional Danish New Year’s spread, while salt cod (baccala) is a celebratory food for Italians throughout the holiday season. Kick off your own feast with Laura Calder’s crispy brandade cakes. The bite-size appetizers are easy to eat while you mingle and sip your first glass of Champagne.

In Spain and Latin America, eating 12 grapes at midnight is a New Year’s tradition believed to bring good luck for the coming year (just make sure you eat all 12 before the clock strikes 12!) We say, eating grapes in Ellie Krieger’s white gazpacho works too.

Many cultures eat cooked greens for prosperity on New Year’s—the leaves are thought to resemble money. Aida Mollenkamp’s version, braised with bacon and sweet onions, is certainly rich.

Southerners love their black-eyed peas, especially on New Year’s, when the dish Hoppin’ John is thought to bring luck. Roger Mooking’s simple side is a great way to use the lucky peas.

CHOICE OF ENTREE: Crispy Pork Belly with Lentils or Pork Roast with Warm Cabbage (pictured first)

Thanks to its rich fat content, pork symbolizes wealth and prosperity. Roast suckling pig is the centerpiece of the New Year’s feast in many countries. It was simply too difficult to choose our favorite pork dish of the year, so we present two options, both paired with other lucky foods. Roger Mooking’s pork belly is served with lentils, part of the lucky legume family, while Michael Symon’s pork roast goes beautifully with warm cabbage, part of the prosperous greens family. Plus, the Iron Chef finishes the dish with a Champagne-spiked pan sauce—very New Year’s Eve appropriate.

PRE-DESSERT: Mocha with Chiacchere

Do we really need an excuse to eat these fried Italian pastries made of pasta dough dusted with powdered sugar? Well, if you don’t indulge, it may mean bad luck for the New Year. Nadia G. ups the ante by serving her chiacchere with hot mochas for dipping.

DESSERT: Chocolate Cake

Round desserts like cakes are considered lucky, so why not go with this classic chocolate confection from pastry guru Rachel Allen? Healthy resolutions don't start until tomorrow.

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