Monday, January 01, 2007
Hoppin’ John: A Recipe to Bring You Luck in the New Year
If you were told that collecting chicken bones and burying them in the backyard at midnight while wearing daisies in your hair would bring you prosperity in the New Year, you wouldn’t do it, would you? Assuming the answer is no (it is “no,” isn’t it?), you probably are not a terribly superstitious person. Still, couldn’t we all use a little extra luck in 2007? I have a solution that won’t have you running around like a crazy wood sprite, and it’s tasty too.
In many parts of the American South, it is traditional to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day to bring luck and wealth in the year to come. The peas, or beans with little black “eyes,” signify coins. Fill your plate with them and your proverbial cup will runneth over.
Hoppin’ John is a stew of the creamy, slightly sweet beans flavored with pork, thyme and vegetables. It’s easy to make, even when you start with dried beans. I soaked them overnight in a big pot of water and didn’t give them a second thought until it was time to simmer the stew. This is usually served over rice, but I skipped it and ate a warm slab of buttery skillet cornbread on the side.
Although it is tradition to make Hoppin’ John on January 1st, I think you’re still eligible for the fortune-conferring benefits if you cook this dish in the first week of the New Year. If anyone accuses you of giving in to superstitions, they will be silenced as soon as they have a taste.
I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and are as excited about the New Year as I am. I had a very fun Christmas in Washington with my family. I even got to cook some of my favorite things for them on our short visit. I will share a recipe soon. Cheers to a wonderful and delicious 2007!
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse. Serves 6-8
1 tblsp. olive oil
2 to 3 pork hocks (about 1 ½ lbs. total)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
½ c. carrots, chopped
½ c. celery, chopped
salt and pepper
1 tblsp. chopped garlic
5 to 6 cups water, chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 lb. black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
2 dried bay leaves
1 ½ tsp. dried thyme
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 bunch green onions, sliced
chopped parsley (optional)
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the pork hocks on all sides until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Add 5 cups of water or broth. Return the pork hocks to the pot and add the black-eyed peas. If you need additional liquid to cover the peas, add more. Add the bay, thyme, cayenne and more pepper, if desired. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes or until the peas are tender and creamy.
When the peas are nearly done, remove the pork hocks. Trim away the fat, cut out any chunks of meat and return them to the stew. Some pork hocks may not yield much meat, so you can skip this step if you wish. Taste for seasoning and serve with the green onions and parsley.
Technorati Tags: recipes, new year, black eyed peas, Main Course
at 8:17 PM