Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dinner Tonight

It's not New Year's but I was hungry for it and the cheater's version is pretty fast -- I made Hoppin' John for supper.

You can find about a zillion recipes for it (see link above) but it comes down to blackeyed peas (or any close relative -- or almost any ol' bean you find*) with onion and bell pepper (usually green) and a cured pork product (bacon, ham, etc.) over rice.

Glory Foods sells fully-cooked seasoned blackeyed peas in a can; the supermarket's got nifty packets of diced ham, too, plus modern 90-second microwave rice (the wonder of the age!); grab a nice onion and a pepper (the sweet red ones looked good) and you're good to go. All you have to do is rinse (trust me) the ham, toss it in a pan with a little hot oil, dice half the onion (to taste) and add it, dice the bell pepper and set it aside. Saute -- that's between "heat" and "fry" and includes frequent stirring -- until the onion is barely getting translucent, add the pepper (you don't want to overcook a sweet pepper, they get bitter about it) and give it a minute or two (you'll see the color "wake up"). At that point, pour the (opened! Oh, dear) can of blackeyed peas into the pot, stir well, cover and reduce heat to simmer.

Add whatever seasoning you like to this, at whatever stage seems right. Thyme is traditional, as is a little "New Orleans" seasoning. I tossed a quarter-tsp of sweet curry powder on the onions at the start, for color as much as anything; it plays off the ham nicely. And a pinch of sage and marjoram with the beans. This will not need salt. Oh, heavens no.

Give this mixture five minutes or more get to know itself, while you nuke the rice and set the table.

Serve spooned over rice -- be sure to get some of the liquid!

Hot sauce (at table, to taste) is another traditional touch. I went totally left-field; I have been looking at small, bright-red jars of harissa in the local market for months; finally bought some over the weekend. What is it? Think Moroccan salsa, or a thick medium-strength hot sauce without the vinegar. This brand has a mildly smoky taste and a hint of lemon, which fits right in with the ham and beans. A tiny dab is nice on a corn chip, or it can be used to warm up mild salsa. It looks like ketchup. Just don't apply it as if it were!

No photo; this is just a nice mess of stuff over rice. Plus...I ate it already.
* Who will brave the butter bean or chickpea frontiers? I have a terrible weakness for legumes, with blackeyed, field and pigeon peas very high on the list. The there's the chickpea, the lentil, black beans, pinto beans.... "15-Bean Soup" night was a very happy night for me, growing up.


Bob said...

James Michener talked of chickpeas (garbanzos) in his epic tribute to Spain, Iberia.

Anonymous said...

Though a Southerner, I never ate hoppin' john until recently. I enjoy it very much. DO use a smoked ham hock. Do NOT overcook as blackeyed peas get mushy and less palatable very quickly.

Ken said...

Black beans are the pinnacle -- the top, the Colosseum, the Louvre Museum -- of beany goodness, but nearly all of them are pretty good. Gonna try that hoppin' john in the nexrt week or two.

BobG said...

I think I've eaten just about every kind of legume you can imagine, and all of them are good in the right dishes. I always have a good supply of beans and such in canned and dry form in my pantry.

LabRat said...

Our version involves no sweet peppers and a helluva lot of bacon, but otherwise very similar. And it is a side-dish staple, one my father-in-law loves at that.

Glory Foods said...

Hi, Roberta! I've just come across your blog post and happen to think that September is a fine month for a good Hoppin' John. :-)

Also, in case you'd like to enter one of your own Glory Foods creations, we are having a recipe contest this month that runs until September 30. The details are here: http://blog.gloryfoods.com/2011/09/soulful-lunches-recipe-contest/

In the meantime, I hope your Hoppin' John brought you some good luck!

Yvette Ferry
Online Community Manager at Glory Foods