Friday, January 1, 2010

Hoppin' John!

I have no clue why eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is considered good luck (I guess you're supposed to eat poor tonight and rich the rest of the year) or how the dish got it's rather unlikely name (edible Chesapeake has a bit of history) but even a Yankee-boy like me can tell it's delicious! Bryant Terry's vegan version is less porky than your average Southern indulgence, but still very, very good.

Check the recipe after the jump!

"Creole Hoppin'-Jean"
Adapted from Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen

2 cups frozen black-eyed peas (frozen beans are easy to use, and taste much better than I ever expected)
1 cup rice (rinse out the starch first)
a couple of shallots, chopped
1 tb creole seasoning (I always turn too Nola Cuisine)
2 cups stock
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes
olive oil

1) Pull the peas out of the freezer and allow them to thaw out a bit while you prepare everything else
2) Get a saucepan hot. Dump in the rice and allow the water to evaporate, then cook for another minute until it starts to smell toasty, then add a tablespoon of olive oil and keep stirring until the rice browns.
3) Add the shallots and creole seasoning and stir for a few minutes until the shallots soften up and the creole seasoning gets good and fragrant.
4) Add the tomatoes, stock and black-eyed peas, then bring to a boil and take back to a simmer. Let it go for forty-five minutes and check to see if the beans and rice are just cooked. The greatest joy of this dish is in the slight pop of the peas and the nutty graininess of the rice. If you stir the beans too much or overcook them it becomes just mushy beans and rice and your family will suffer horrible diseases (I'm not this superstitious, but some people are.) When it's ready, cover the pot and pull it off the heat for 10 minutes, then serve with crusty bread, hot sauce (I like mexicanValentina, but there's a lot of discussion on the subject) and lots of greens on the side.