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Hoppin’ John

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Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John
Rinne Allen
Provided by:
total prep
Recipe courtesy of A New Turn in the South by Hugh Acheson/Clarkson Potter, 2011.

Hoppin' John is the rice and beans of the South. Some people make it more into a rice salad, but here it is... It should be zesty and full flavored but clean too. I love that vinegar zip that makes things fresh. Tradition has it that we eat Hoppin' John on New Year's Day, but I feel comfortable eating it pretty much any time. It's so good that it deserves more than a once-a-year appearance on your table. The leftovers from Hoppin' John are called Skippin' Jenny. Those leftovers can be turned into a nice soup with some ham hock stock and fresh herbs.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large large Vidalia onion, minced
  • 1 cup peeled and minced celery
  • 1 poblano chile, cored, seeded, and minced
  • 1 medium-sized sweet red pepper cored, seeded, and minced
  • 1 pinch chile flake
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Pepper Vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  • Place the peas, hock, and bay leaves in a large pot and cover with cold water. You want to have enough water so go about two inches over your dried peas. Place on medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the peas are tender, but not so far as to mush them all up. They should be tender but intact. If there is still a lot of liquid in the pot then drain it off, keeping the peas in the pot. Remove the hock from the peas and pull all the nice meat off and coarsely chop it. The bone and sinew can be discarded. Add the nice meat back to the peas.
  • Place the rice in a pot and add 1 1/2 cups cold water, the salt, and 1 tablespoon of butter. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and then fluff with a fork before using.
  • While the rice is cooking, place a large fry pan over medium heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of remaining butter and let it melt, bubble, and froth. Don’t brown the butter though. Add the onion and celery and cook for 4 minutes stirring once in a while. Add the poblano and bell pepper, reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for 15 minutes until the flavors have really developed. Add the red pepper flakes and combine this mixture with the peas.
  • Now you can marry the finished rice to the finished peas and you have Hoppin’ John! Finish with the dash of vinegar and start the new year off right!