All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012
I had a kinda tough year & an even harder holiday season. Not as bad as some – but certainly bad enough for me to want things to take a turn for the better. Hoppin’ John is a traditional southern dish, typically served on New Years Day to bring a prosperous new year. Here is WIKIPEDIA’S explanation. I didn’t add peas to mine but you certainly can & I love the idea of serving each bowl with a coin beneath it to ramp up the good fortune.
This is CRAZY easy to make & tastier than you might guess – even without the bacon or ham hock. Still – if you like these things – feel free to add them. I made these in a slow cooker with dried beans but these can be done very quickly on your stove top with canned beans. Also – I made a shitload – mainly because I added too many chipotle peppers to my first batch – so I doubled the batch to lessen the heat. I will post the recipe here for a single pound of dried beans, however. If you use canned – use two pounds or so.
Also – I used red cargo rice because I already had some made & because I enjoy the crunch it has (and the extra fiber!) but a long grained white rice is traditional – and, arguably, prettier. I buy the red cargo rice at my local Thai market. I imagine it can be found on Amazon – as everything can be had on Amazon these days – but do not feel pressure to use this specific rice. White rice, instant rice, basmati, brown – whatever.
New Years Day Spicy Hoppin’ John (vegetarian – vegan) with Red Cargo Rice
2 cups uncooked rice of your choice
1 lb dried black eyed peas (or 2 lbs canned – drained & rinsed)
1 medium onion – diced
3-6 garlic cloves – diced
4 celery stalks – diced
1 red bell pepper – diced
1 7oz can diced green chilies (optional)
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo – diced (more or less – to your taste)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBS ground cumin
1 TBS olive oil
S&P to taste
2 tomatoes – diced
4 scallions sliced
fresh Italian parsley – chopped
Fresh cilantro – chopped
1 small red onion – diced
Avocado – sliced
Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
COINS (Pennies – silver dollars? Your call) – for placement under each serving dish
Cook your rice according to the package instructions.
If you are using dried black eyed peas – bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the black eyed peas & boil for ten minutes. Turn off heat, cover & let stand for an hour. Drain & RINSE WELL.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil & saute the garlic, onion, red pepper and celery until the vegetable are soft.
The rest of the steps are the same whether you are going stove top with canned beans or slow cooker with dried beans. The only difference is the time involved and the fact that the canned beans will need almost no water added. The slow cooker beans will need a good 5 hours. The stove top version could – arguably – be eaten almost immediately (but the longer it sits simmering – the better).
If you are using bacon – fry it up & the chop it. If using a ham hock – I don’t know. Do you add it to the black eyed peas already cooked? I imagine so.
Anyway – once your vegetables are sauteed, you simply combine the already partly cooked beans with the vegetables, chipotle, green chilies, cumin, baking soda and S&P with (in the case of dried beans) 4 cups of fresh water (not the water used to cook the beans) – or in the canned bean instance – maybe 1 cup of water. Stove top – heat until boiling, then lower heat & simmer covered until you are ready to eat.
For you slow cookers – I set my cooker at high, covered it & stirred the contents occasionally. The beans were pretty tender after 5 hours. In fact – they could probably take more time if you felt like it but I feared they would begin to break up & look like an ugly mush. Taste – season with S&P – serve over rice with whichever garnishes you selected.
Pour a deep glass of wine or beer or bubbly & embrace the hair of the dog that bit you last night.
And – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!