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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hoppin' John for a Happy New Year

Hoppin’ John

Stop by our house tomorrow, and you’ll find me cooking a mess of “Hoppin’ John.”

“Hoppin’ John” is an essential part of southern lore, especially honored in the Low Country, South Carolina’s coastal counties. If you stop in an area restaurant around New Year’s Day, no matter what you order, they’ll slip you a small dish of beans and rice—gratis. Eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day is said to give a body good luck all year long.

The dish is believed to be first made by the slaves as a form of pilau. Black eyed peas, rice and ham hocks or bacon are traditional ingredients. The New York Times called the meal “a nutritional marvel, the culinary touchstone of the African diaspora and a hangover remedy without equal.” And the article goes on to date “the first known appearance of ‘hoppin' John’ in print was in 1838, in Caroline Gilman's novel ‘Recollections of a Southern Matron.’

My version is lowfat, and only 6 Weight Watchers’ points. If you swap out bacon for Bacos, of course that number will change.

Hoppin’ John

1/3 C chopped celery
1 tsp. olive oil
1/3 C chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1 T Bacos (or bacon)
1 C chicken broth
½ can (1/2 C) black-eyed peas (cooked in a can)
¼ C chopped lean ham (Okay, if you want to use a ham hock, who am I to stop you?)
1 C brown rice, cooked

Saute first 4 ingredients. Add to other ingredients, mix well. Put in 1 quart casserole dish and bake, covered, in 350 º oven for one hour.

1 comment:

Kris said...

Keep up the good work.