I would ask my mother every year, “Why do you tell us to eat lentils on New Year’s Eve?” Her answer was very simple, because my mother Luisa said it was for good luck.
So each year, My mother Maria would make a big pot of lentils for New Year’s eve. She would take out a big stockpot and start simmering lots of chopped onions, carrots, and celery (mirepoix) with either pancetta (Italian bacon) or Italian sausage for flavor. Once the sausage was browned and the onions translucent, she would remove the sausage to serve later on the side. Then she would add homemade chicken broth, cleaned lentils (she would stand over a colander cleaning the lentils to make sure there were no little pebbles mixed in) add strips of canned pomodoro tomatoes, and cubes of cleaned potatoes. I am not sure what made her lentil soup taste so delicious; was it was her singing over the simmering stock pot or the shared memories of her mother making this special traditional dish?
Today we want to share this family tradition with you. With a vegetarian twist on her original recipe… No sausage or pancetta. We Make it purely Vegetarian, using freshly made vegetable stock, and only fresh local vegetables with cleaned lentils.
Being the inquisitive kid that I was, I researched in many of my mother’s cookbooks (pre-internet) why Italians eat Lentils on New Years’?
The lentils, with their coinlike shape, represent luck and prosperity!
After a year like 2020, We all need a Big Yummy Bowl of Lentils to warm our tummy and our hearts with hopes of a better year to come.
Wishing you and your families Happy Healthy and prosperous New Year