There are surely all over the world the most different customs on New Year's Eve respectively on New Year's Day.
In Spain, I have learned, when the church clock strikes midnight, 1 grape is eaten at each chime. That's 12, 1 for each of the coming months. In other countries leaf spinach or white cabbage is eaten.
In Germany carp is widely used as New Year's meal. New Year's carp is also said to bring wealth, namely when the head of the household puts one of the scales under his plate and keeps it in his wallet after the meal.
In Italy and Germany the lentil stew for New Year is very popular. That way I satisfy my German and Italian genes. The lentils symbolize small coins because they look similar to these. The consumption of lentil stew is also said to bring prosperity. According to legend, the more lentils you eat, the more wealth grows.
There are many different recipes for lentil stew. Most include quite a lot of pork as bacon, pork belly... 😣 and at the end, wiener sausage, bockwurst or black pudding for garnish.
I cook my lentil stew completely differently. It's much lighter and, if you like, you can do without meat. 😊
I don't have a real recipe for that. Unlike baking, I cook by intuition. First, I cooked (in lightly salted water) a chicken that had a happy life and separated the meat from the bones. Then I reduced the cooking water with the bones a little bit because I need the chicken stock later. About 30 percent of the chicken is used for the stew, the other part is for a chicken salad. 😁
For the stew I first precooked the lentils (500g dried) separately. From one fifth of it I make a lentil salad.
In my 10 litre cooking pot I first fried diced carrots (3 relatively large ones) and celeriac (about a handful of cubes) in a good sunflower oil and glazed them with a little honey. Then I added small diced onions (1 big onion) until they were glassy. A little sediment should have formed. If so, I deglaze with a good dry white wine (Riesling). 3-4 finely chopped garlic cloves were now added.
Now a large kohlrabi cut into strips and diced potatoes (about 1kg) were added. I filled up with white wine and chicken stock until everything was covered with liquid. I let the whole thing simmer until potatoes, carrots and kohlrabi were done. It should still be al dente.
Now it was time to add leeks (3 large, cut into pieces). Of course I filled up again with white wine and chicken stock. 😄 There is almost 1 liter of white wine in the stew. 😉
Leek does not take long to be cooked. As soon as it was cooked, I added the chicken meat and the pre-cooked lentils. I have spiced with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (be careful with the cayenne pepper), mace. I achieved the balance between sweet and sour by adding cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, lemon juice and honey. In addition I added some chilli filaments.
I will serve the lentil stew with a few croutons and finely chopped parsley. I will serve the same Riesling with it.
As you can see, my big pot is full and would be enough for at least 10 people. 😂
The good thing about this dish is that it tastes even better after 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Only the parsley and croutons should always be added fresh. The leftover can be frozen quite well.
My Celeriac was very large. It was plenty of 1 kg. But I only needed a handful. With the leftover, I made a delicious celery salad. Cut into thin pieces, I cooked the celery root in a broth of onions, garlic, salt, pepper, white wine vinegar and honey. Part of it I filled hot into sterilized glasses.
The salad not only tastes good, it also fills the pen with ink.