Friday, December 31, 2010

Feeling Lucky - Happy New Year!

Growing up in central Georgia, we had blackeye peas and collards every New Year's Day. The peas were for good luck and the collards for wealth in the new year. I didn't come into greens until my later years so I usually just ate the peas, which I love, love, love. I was just home for Christmas and luckily I made it back between Atlanta and Boston with just one day's delay. I've played in the snow but my Southern upbringing is still feeling close so I just made myself a batch of peas.

I called my Dad so that I could make them like he did and he acted as if there wasn't much to it but to remember the secret ingredient. I added a few of my owns bits (onion and bay leaf) and so here is my version of my Dad's Hoppin' John.

Hoppin' John 
  • 1 lb dry blackeye peas
  • 8 oz ham, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon sugar - that's the secret
  • water, salt, peper
  • butter and chicken stock, optional

Put the dry peas in a pot with about 7-8 cups of warm water. Bring to a boil and boil for about 2 minutes. Let sit for an hour.

Near the end of the hour start to cook up the ham in a frying pan with a little butter. Add the onion and continue to sauté until translucent. I had about 2.5 cups frozen chicken stock so I added it to the frying pan and melted it down then added all to the peas. Return heat to the peas, add sugar, bay leaf and then simmer until tender adding salt and pepper to taste. I added a bit more water at the end, but this too is up to you and your tastes.

Top on rice and get lucky! Oh, and don't forget it's bad luck to do your laundry on New Year's Day, don't even think about it. I suppose this is another Southern old wives tale, but it doesn't take much for me to skip laundry...

**Also, anything with ham and a bay leaf gets me hankerin' for Jambalaya. I'm excited that the new year also means Mardi Gras season is around the corner!


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