The week between Christmas and New Year’s is one of my favorites. There seems to be extra time to go to the movies and return stuff that didn’t fit and read the new cookbook you bought yourself for Christmas.
Ree begins her book of holiday meals with New Year’s Day Hoppin’ John. This is a tradition I’ve never participated in before. But after my first encounter, I see many a black-eyed pea in my future January 1sts (as well as other chilly days ahead). Hoppin’ John over rice is a filling, simple, flavorful meal. Add another dimension by serving it alongside kale, with cornbread, or over grits instead of rice like my friend Caroline does.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
2 cups dried black-eyed peas
5 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 thick slice country ham, diced (about 1 cup)
White rice, for serving
- Soak black-eyed peas in cool water for 6 hours or more. Rinse and drain.
- In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, bell peppers, jalapeño, garlic, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in rinsed beans, then add the chicken stock, salt & pepper, and cayenne pepper. It’s a lot of beans to season, but go easy on the salt since the country ham you’re about to add is very salty. Start with a teaspoon and see how you feel.
- Toss in the diced country ham (bone and all) and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Stir periodically, and check the liquid level after about 45 minutes. I like a thick stew consistency so some liquid remains to spoon over the rice. If the mixture is too soupy, remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes or so. If it’s too thick, add more stock.
- Taste for seasonings. Remove bone. Serve over rice.
Happy New Year, friends!