Monday, January 3, 2011
Hoppin' John is the South's version of a traditional West African dish. It is simply black-eyed peas with rice and chopped onion. It is traditionally made with bacon, but I made mine vegetarian with delicious results. This humble dish has gained popularity in recent years, and as many variations are seen as there are creative cooks to prepare it.
I have toyed with it myself, with additions such as bell pepper, celery, carrots, tomatoes, chilis, cumin, and more. But this year, I decided to keep it simple and basic.
New Year's Day is certainly not the only day we eat beans and rice. Beans are one of my favorite foods. They are so healthful, as well as economical and versatile. There's Cuban spiced black beans, New Orleans red beans, TexMex pinto beans, Japanese aduki beans, Middle Eastern garbanzo beans, and the list goes on. . .
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
1 large onion, chopped
3 (at least) large garlic cloves
2 - 3 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sort through the black-eyed peas, to remove any stones, clumps of dirt, or other foreign matter. Rinse thoroughly. In a large Dutch oven, combine the black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and salt. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently until beans are tender but not mushy, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary.
Serve the peas with hot, fluffy, white rice, top with chopped onion and pass the hot sauce.