Is it too late to celebrate New Year’s?
I know I’m a bit behind with sharing a dish that traditionally brings in a new year, but I’m a late bloomer when it comes to this version of rice and beans. I think I’ve always known what it is, but I had never actually eaten it until I went to Charleston, South Carolina last month.
And what a place to have it considering it’s a well celebrated local dish in that area of the U.S. So as soon as I returned I picked up a bag of black-eyed peas. We have definitely hit spring now, but just a few days ago we were having perfect rice and beans weather so I decided to give it a try.
There are many, many recipes out there for Hoppin’ John so this one is an adaptation of several. I was incredibly pleased with the result. It’s lasted me several meals and last night I even turned it into a nacho dinner of sorts.
I do have to admit that my husband didn’t care for it, but I’m pretty sure I nailed down the reasons. One – although no sugar is added it does have a bit of a sweet flavor which isn’t his cup of tea. Two – I like my beans to have a firm texture and he does not. So if you are in my camp as far as your preferences I have no doubt that you will love this hearty dish!
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
2 cups black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
2 thick-cut slices pastured Heritage-breed bacon
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 ½ cups dry brown rice, cooked according to package directions
Chives for garnish
In a heavy sauce pot, heat the bacon over medium heat until the fat renders and becomes bubbly. Add the celery and onion, increase the heat to medium-high and cook for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
Stir in the oregano, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Add the drained black-eyed peas. Add enough water, to just barely cover the peas. Add the bay leaf.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the peas reach your desired tenderness, remove the pot from heat and remove the bay leaf.
Serve over brown rice, or stir in the brown rice into the pot before serving. Garnish with chopped chives.