Hoppin John which contains blackeye peas is traditionally served on New Years Eve/ Day. They are supposed to bring good luck. I guess I could use it since I fell the other day, it was my own fault, never, especially on the pot hole laden streets of NYC push a shopping cart in front of you, you should drag it in back. I learned the hard way, I had just come from the food coop, cart full of all sorts of good stuff, it was pretty heavy. Crossing the street walking at a brisk pace, the wheels got stuck in a pothole, I went flying over the cart with my finger in one of the grooves, it completely dislocated my finger. I spent the rest of the day in the ER where they had to put it back together. I was lucky it wasn’t fractured. Unlucky for me it’s my right hand index finger. I will adapt. This was a bit difficult to make not because the recipe is hard but working without my index finger is not easy and painful.Vegetables are not cut in the proper size pieces but the results are the same.
So I thought I better make some blackeye peas for good luck, this is not the way I envisioned starting 2014.
I have not eaten blackeye peas since I was a child. To be perfectly honest, I really disliked them after a very unappetizing school lunch containing the dreaded peas that I was forced to eat. Since then I have tasted them and they were ok, I looked at several hoppin john recipes and decided on one with bacon, because bacon makes everything better!! This recipe is simple to make and so delicious, now why didn’t they serve this at school it could have been spared years of being a blackeye pea hater.
2 cups dried blackeye peas
1 red bell pepper diced
1 yellow bell pepper diced
1 jalapeno peper cut in half lengthwise seeds removed
1 large stalk celery sliced
1 medium onion diced
2 garlic cloves smashed
1 medium size carrot sliced
6 cups stock (vegetable or chicken) or you can use water
4 thick slices of bacon cut into lardons
splash of olive oil
1 bunch collard greens tough stems removed and cut into thin strips
steamed white rice
hot sauce of your choice
splash of apple cider vinegar (optional)
Rinse peas discarding any rocks or peas that don’t look good. Set aside. In dutch oven set on med/high heat saute the bacon to render the fat, remove the bacon leaving about 2 or 3 tbs of bacon fat in the pot my bacon was lean so I had to add a splash of olive oil, set the cooked bacon aside to add later. Still on med/high add onions and saute until they just begin to soften, add the celery, carrot and yellow and red bell pepper. Continue to saute until vegetables soften, add smashed garlic cloves and cook for another minute or two. Add the blackeye peas, reserved bacon, jalapeno pepper, collard greens and liquid, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cook for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally and adding liquid if it looks too dry. Before serving, remove jalapeno pepper and discard (or you can keep it if you like) I just use for flavor.
Serve over steamed rice, brown or white your choice. Add some hot sauce, an optional splash of vinegar and garnish however you like. I really like some cheddar or manchego cheese grated on top.
A Very Happy New Year to all of you. I wish for all a happy, healthy, successful 2014 and I look forward to blog posts from each and every one of you!!