Seeds of Luck in 2017
With all due respect to Hoppin' John, my favorite food-related New Year tradition is performed in Greek households. A pomegranate is hung above the front door for the 12 days of Christmas, then just before midnight the lights are turned out, everyone leaves the house and after the clock has struck 12 the fruit is smashed on the front steps. The more seeds that come splattering out the better, as a symbol of fertility, regeneration and prosperity.
A less violent, if less satisfying, method of releasing those sweet-tart jewels is to fill a large bowl with water and peel away the skin and pith in the bowl. The white parts float, making them much easier to separate from the seeds, and your hands are spared much of the red stain of the juice.
I sprinkle them over salads and in champagne punch, and recently added a new dish to my pomegranate repertoire: Persian Fesenjan. My mother discovered it on a fall trip to Iran, and I agree with her assessment that this is one delicious chicken stew---rich tasting but not heavy and packed with walnut and pomegranate "superfood" power. I enjoyed making this version from PersianMama. Be sure to slowly caramelize the onions, and I cooked the sauce down for quite some time to achieve a thick texture. Not a bad way to start the year.