I grew up in rural Pennsylvania. My hometown of Orwigsburg (population: 3106) is tucked in among Amish country, coal mines, and Hawk Mountain. My family is mostly of Lebanese and Italian heritage, but on New Year’s Day, we ate according to Pennsylvania Dutch tradition: pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes and buttered rye bread.
Dave’s always been kind of dumbfounded by my need to eat sauerkraut every January 1, but he’s a good sport and plays along with my insistence that it’s good luck. According to the lore, eating pork on New Year’s Day bodes well because a pig roots forward into the future – unlike the turkey that we eat on other holidays which buries the past by scratching backward in the dirt.
This year, I’m adhering to the spirit of the tradition, but giving it a dino-chow spin.
On New Year’s Eve, Dave and I are staying home to enjoy a homemade feast we’re making together (more on that later) and watching Mamma Mia and The Hangover (while not creating hangovers of our own). Our New Year’s Day “good luck” feast is actually going to start at midnight with a Spanish tradition: 12 grapes. In Spain, New Year’s Eve is called Nochevieja, or Old Night, and the tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight as each chime rings in the new year. A grape a second might be kinda tough, but we’re going to give it a go!
Our New Year’s Day Menu:
I’ve written extensively about bigos before. It’s a hearty dish made with a variety of meats, cabbage, apples, and earthy spices. This time, I’m trying it with pork and goat!
I was never all that crazy about mashed potatoes to begin with, so making the switch to mashed cauliflower was easy for me. The secret to making the mashed cauliflower taste heavenly is coconut oil, coconut milk, and chives.
Serves 4 | Prep 10 min | Cook 5 min | Whole30 compliant
It’s traditional to eat apple sauce with the pork and sauerkraut, but for me, unsweetened apple sauce is kinda meh. Instead, I’m making apples sautéed in coconut oil to eat alongside our meal. They’re easy, delicious, sweet, satisfying, 100% dino-chow, and make for a really nice dessert on a wintry day.
1 strip sugar-free, nitrate-free bacon
8 roasted, unsalted pecan halves, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 large, crisp apples, cored and sliced (about 2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice or cinnamon
zest from 1/4 lemon (about 1/4 teaspoon)
generous pinch salt
1. Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch wide pieces. Place the chopped bacon in a large, cold skillet, turn the heat to medium-high, and fry the bacon until it’s crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan with a wooden spoon and drain on a paper towel.
2. Wipe the grease out of the skillet, place it back on the heat, and add the chopped pecans. Stir with a wooden spoon until toasted, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan.
3. In the same skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high. Add the apple slices and sauté until the apples begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the apple pie spice, lemon zest, and salt with a fork, then add to the apples. Continue cooking until the apples are golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
4. Spoon into small dishes and sprinkle with bacon bits and chopped pecans.
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