Preparing for Prosperity in 2011- Quick Hoppin’ John
Hoppin’ John is this southerner’s love. It’s a perfect dish showcasing rice from my native South Carolina and one of the sweetest looking legumes there is, the black-eyed pea.
You can see why it’s called a black-eye immediately. This legume has a slightly nutty taste and this particular rice and bean dish has special powers.
Yep. Everyone in my household has to have at least a spoonful, to insure prosperity in the New Year. This particular dish should be eaten, dare I say it, weekly because who can’t use more prosperity?
The problem comes with all classic bean/legume dishes; you have to plan to have them. Dried beans are inexpensive and keep for a pretty long time so they should be in your pantry. Canned beans taste horrible, so while I do have them, I’m gravitating away from buying any more because I’ve also got a pressure cooker. That let’s me decide in less than an hour before eating when legumes sound like a good idea and I can take even the longest cooking legume, garbanzo beans, and still have them cooked in about 45 minutes.
That said, there’s a great offering in most produce sections of the grocer and that’s fresh black-eyed peas. These serve as the base of my Quick Hoppin’ Johns and let’s you control both the taste and the texture of your peas, a problem whenever canned peas are in the mix.
The problem with beans and rice is how to prepare them. There are two schools of thought and they can be just as controversial as whether to eat the center of the Oreo first or take it as it comes. Should the black-eyed peas and rice be served as a mix or separate? You know, the black-eyed peas ladled over the rice.
I’m decidedly in the camp that believes Hoppin’John should be served with the rice and black-eyed peas mixed together.
Hoppin’ John serves 8
2 c. long grain rice
3 c. water
4 t. olive oil
36 oz. of fresh black-eyed peas (look in your produce section)
2 bay leaves
9 c. water
1/2 t. celery seed
4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 T. olive oil
1 Rooster Spur or other hot pepper, minced (wear gloves)
For the rice: Place oil in pan on medium heat. Heat the oil until it begins to glisten. Add the rice to the pot. Stir for 3 minutes (the rice should be translucent). Add water and bring to a boil. Occasionally, lift the pan and swirl contents. Reduce heat to low for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and wait another 15 minutes, no lifting the lid to peak.
For the black-eyed peas: Cover peas in a dutch oven with water. Add bay leaves, celery seed, and allspice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for another 15 minutes (up to 20 minutes if you like a softer pea) at low boil. Drain peas and reserve cooking liquid.
Add 2 T. of olive oil to a dry dutch oven over medium heat. Heat oil until golden then add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add hot pepper. Stir pot. Add salt to taste. Add hickory smoke seasoning, peas and rice. Mix to incorporate. This will create distinctly separate grains of rice and a firm/dry Hoppin’ John. Add half a cup at a time of reserved cooking liquid if desired. Mix to incorporate all of the liquid into the grains and peas.