There are a lot of superstitions about actions we can take on New Years Day to bring us good luck for the year. With this Tuesday being New Years Day, I thought I would write about how I make Hoppin’ John since that is one of the southern food traditions.
The first item for Hoppin’ John is the black-eyed peas. I usually get a 14 oz to 16 oz can and doctor things up from there but this year, I was at the local Winn-Dixie getting some fixings for some chili when I remembered the need for the black-eyed peas. I noticed a can with the label of “Hoppin’ John” and just went with that. The label says it includes black-eyed peas, tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos so it is an interesting start but I will be adding and embellishing things to my taste.
The first extra I will be adding is some country ham scraps which I will be browning in my either my #2 or #6 iron skillets. Most years, I do not have the country ham scraps though so I just chop up a slice or two of bacon. I will also be adding in some more chopped onion, some chopped green bell pepper, and probably a 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic (at least.) There is nothing real unusual about this though as I tend to add bacon or ham scraps, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic to things like baked beans and black-eyed peas whenever I make them. I might add a bit more hot sauce as well as some other spices (paprika most likely) but that will be an on the fly decision.
Just mix everything together in a sturdy sauce pan, cover, then on the stove top low and slow until I decide it is ready. I don’t really have any clues as to when it is done but since it will have cooked for a good hour or two at a minimum, it gives everything a chance to integrate.
Once I decide things have cooked long enough, I will make some rice. Right now, I have at least 4 different types of rice in the pantry so I have no idea which one I will make – probably the one that requires the least effort. After the rice has cooked, I will just ladle the black-eyed peas over it and mix together and voila! there’s the Hoppin’ John complete.
Since I don’t care all that much for cooked greens, I will be having a mixed greens salad along with the Hoppin’ John.
Will eating Hoppin’ John and greens on New Years Day bring me good luck? Probably not but it is not a bad meal to have.
And because I can:
Photo from Tavallai licensed under Creative Commons