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January 2011 (hoppin’ john)

December 26, 2010
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 Are you ready for 2011?  I am!  I am so ready to get this project off the ground.

Schedule:  Monthly postings of recipes most likely to be used during all holidays throughout the year beginning with “Hoppin’ John, a meal served on New Years Day.  (recipe provided below – New Years Day is less than a week away!)

Then we’ll post monthly towards the end of each month for the next month’s holiday recipes.

Also, look for tips on decorations for your home and tablescapes as well as some holiday and/or recipe history when appropriate.  

So, welcome aboard!  We are delighted and blessed you are here.

 

Best Holiday Recipes Ever/January 2011

History: Hoppin’ John is the Southern United States‘ version of the rice and beans dish traditional throughout West Africa. It consists of black-eyed peas (or field peas) and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt.[1] Some people substitute ham hock or fat-back for the conventional bacon; a few use green peppers or vinegar and spices. Smaller than black-eyed peas, field peas are used in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia; black-eyed peas are the norm elsewhere.

Throughout the coastal South, eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck,.[2][3] The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls.[4] Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, kale etc. along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money.[5] On the day after New Year’s Day, leftover “Hoppin’ John” is called “Skippin’ Jenny,” and further demonstrates one’s frugality, bringing a hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year.[6][7] During the late Middle Ages, there was a tradition of eating beans on New Year’s Day for good luck in parts of France and Spain. The European tradition mixed with an African food item to become a New World tradition.

One tradition common in the Southern USA is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to assure that the New Year will be filled with Luck, Fortune and Romance. Another tradition holds that counting the number of peas in a serving predicts the amount of luck (or wealth) that the diner will have in the coming year.

Hoppin’ John Ingredients: (this recipe is the bomb!)

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas (or field peas if you prefer)
  • 2 small smoked ham hocks or meaty ham bone
  • 2 medium onions, divided
  • 3 large cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 can (10 to 14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with chile peppers, juices reserved
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Preparation:

In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine the black-eyed peas, ham bone or ham hocks, and 6 cups water. Cut 1 of the onions in half and add it to the pot along with the garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove the ham bone or hocks, cut off the meat; dice and set aside. Drain the peas and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf, onion pieces, and garlic.Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice, cover, and simmer until the rice is almost tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Mince the remaining onion then add to the rice along with the peas, tomatoes, and their juices, red and green bell pepper, celery, jalapeno pepper, Creole seasoning, thyme, cumin, and salt. Cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced green onions and the reserved diced ham. Serve with hot sauce and freshly baked cornbread.

Cornbread Recipe:

This is not my recipe as, unfortunately, my recipe box is packed for a move to Ohio. My recipes are not available until next month so in the mean time I have borrowed this one which is very good, easy to follow and better than an out of the box mix! The recipe is from Paula Dean and very close to mine.  Enjoy. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for baking dish
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold together until there are no dry spots (the batter will still be lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake until the top is golden brown and tester inserted into the middle of the corn bread comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cornbread from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

In our family we pour the hoppin’ john over a slice of cornbread.  I usually fix some kind of greens on the side and sometimes I serve the left over Christmas ham (from the freezer) if any is left.

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