29 - Hoppin' John - Black-Eyed Peas and Rice

Another annual tradition. I make this for good luck on New Years Day.

I’d always considered it a Southern tradition—and indeed it is, but last year, Sarah, in the midst of intrepid Internet research found some evidence that it was brought to the Southern United States by Sephardic Jews who arrived in Georgia in the 1730’s. I know you can’t believe everything you find on the Internet, but that tale does have a certain surprising charm.

Here’s the recipe for vegetarian black-eyed peas (for a meat variant—there are always those ham hocks):

Soak two cups of black-eyed peas over night.

Sauté in olive oil 1 cup chopped onions, ½ cup chopped green pepper, ½ cup celery, several cloves of garlic, and one chopped chipotle pepper (this to provide smokiness in vegetarian version) in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the soaked beans, a quart of vegetable stock (or water—not as good, but…will be o.k.), one or two bay leaves, and a bit of thyme. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for about an hour. Serve over rice, with the greens and corn bread and you’ll have a splendid year.

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