I am about 8 months late on this dish. As most authentic southerners know, this is dish is traditionally served on January 1st along side a heaping pile o’ collard greens. Legend has it that if you eat collards and black eyed peas on January 1st, you’ll find wealth in the upcoming year. You see, the collard greens represent green dollar bills and the black eye peas represent shiny copper coins.
I’ve been enjoying Hoppin’ John consistently on most January 1sts for the past decade or so – a pretty good sampling to accurately conclude that money trees will not begin growing in your yard and copper coins will not fall from the sky should you, too, decide to eat this superstitious dish.
You can think of this dish as being the Southern equivalent of the Hispanic staple of beans and rice. Cheap. Healthy. Oh so good. And you will most certainly end up feeling a bit richer, as the legend suggests, since this meal is so incredibly cheap to make.
I served my Hoppin’ John alongside a bed of shredded zucchini (When will this thing end?) with some garden fresh sliced tomatoes. For a little kick, sprinkle a dash of vinegar or tabasco on top of the beans just before serving.
Hoppin’ John (significantly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
1/2 c quick cooking brown rice
1 3/4 cup water, divided
(or 1.5 cups cooked rice)
1 carrot, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups black eyed peas, cooked (equiv 1 can)
Saute garlic, onion, pepper, and carrot in olive oil. Add spices and bay leaf and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup water and bring to simmer. Add black eyed peas. Simmer 10 minutes. Add uncooked rice and remaining water. Cook until rice is tender. Place a tight fitting lid on top of the pot and remove from heat. Let rest 10 minutes and then serve. If using cooked rice, follow same directions (just reduce initial amount of water).