Okay, today, we are going to make some good, old-fashioned Southern food. Contrary to what some people outside of the South think (which is that we soak everything in pork fat) Southern cooking can be a very healthy way to eat. It's heavy reliance on legumes and vegetables is heart healthy and also a very economical way to feed a family.
Hoppin John was originally a Southern, African-American dish, traditionally eaten at New Years for "good luck". But, it's great any time.
Following is my mama's recipe. There are many different ways of making it, but this is my favorite...
Hoppin' John Recipe
2 cups dried black-eyed peas
4 cups of cold water
1 pound lean slab bacon or 1 pound meaty ham hocks, or 1 Tablespoon Bacon Fat
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups water or chicken broth
2 cups uncooked rice
Salt and black pepper to taste
To prepare dried beans, sort through them thoroughly for tiny pebbles, etc. Then, soak in 4 cups of water overnight.
The next day, rinse, and drain. Place soaked black-eyed peas in a large soup pot, over medium-high heat, add bacon, ham hock, or T. bacon grease, onion, and red pepper. Add water or chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the peas are tender (do not boil as the beans will burst!).
If you have used bacon or ham hock, remove it and cut into bite-size pieces. Return meat to pot. Stir in rice, cover, and cook 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes 8 servings.
Makes 8 servings.
Note: I prefer using long grain brown rice, which I cook according to directions and then add to the beans pot at the very end of cooking. Of course, I use two cups less liquid while cooking.
Now, if you want to be a good Southerner, you should serve this with some kind of sauteed greens, such as kale or collards. Cornbread would round this meal off perfectly!