smokin’ hoppin’ john
From down south in New Orleans there comes a Cajun dish of black-eyed peas and rice, traditionally served on New Year’s Day. Hoppin’ John they call it. Eaten on the first day of the new year, it’s purported to bring good luck for the remainder. I figure when something tastes this good, it’s bound to be lucky! Most often made with ham and bones, this is a vegetarian version – don’t be dissuaded you meat-eaters – it’s brimming with smoky flavor from smoked paprika and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (Now you see where the smokin‘ comes from.)
If you use frozen black-eyed peas and white rice, you could assemble this in well under an hour. And is it ever affordable! (With money saved….here I go with the pitch again…you could donate to a local food bank or shelter and help another eat well. That just may be doubly lucky.)
Smokin’ Hoppin’ John
makes 4 very generous servings
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup uncooked medium- or long- grain rice (brown or white)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1½ cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, cooked and drained – or use a 20 oz. bag of frozen black-eyed peas for immediate use (see NOTE)
- 2 – 3 cups vegetable both (or, if you prefer, chicken broth)
- 1/4 cup beer
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 t. salt
- chopped green onions
- grape tomatoes, cut in half
- chopped fresh parsley
- shredded cheddar
- hot sauce (especially Cholula chipotle-style)
Soak black-eyed peas overnight. Cover with water to level 2 inches above beans. Gently simmer until done. Drain and set aside. (If using frozen beans, simply proceed to the next step.)
NOTE: on the black-eyed peas. I have a preference for beans I cook myself. They hold together better, have just the perfect “doneness” and I think a bit more flavor. HOWEVER, frozen black-eyed peas make a totally acceptable alternative to cooking the long way and I wouldn’t hesitate to go that route if at all pressed for time.
Over medium heat, warm the oil in a large saucepan or heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and sweaty, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and rice and stir well. Allow rice to toast for 1 minute. Add the smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon salt and stir to coat the mixture well.
Add the black-eyed peas, followed by 2 cups of water or vegetable (or chicken) broth, the beer and minced chipotle chile. Bring to a lively simmer, reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes (if using white rice) ~ or 50 minutes (if using brown basmati). Check the rice for both doneness and moisture. The rice and peas should be moist, but not super soupy. If the mixture is too dry, add additional liquid a few tablespoons at a time, up to 1 cup. Return the lid and cook and additional 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir and taste, adding more salt as needed. Serve hot with any — or all — of the optional garnishes.
Good luck! And Happy New Year!
I’ll be back to share a champagne dinner tomorrow!
PS – just out – a delicious sounding, good-lucking black-eyed pea patty over at Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide.