For many years now I have been following a folk tradition from the south that if you eat poor on New Year’s Day you will eat rich the rest of the year. Though hamhocks are not part of my recipe (most due to the fact that they are hard to track down around these here parts sometimes, so I tend to substitute bacon unless I am doing the vegetarian version) my Hoppin’ John follows close to the tradition with annual variations depending on my intention for the coming year.
2017 Hoppin’ John (Luck & Prosperity for ALL!)
It is suspected that the origins of this name comes from the Creole who call black-eyed peas, “Pigeon peas” but in a bastardized french, “poi pigeon”, pronounced “PWAH-PEE-ZJAHN”, is an easy leap to Hoppin’ John.
Depending on whether you plan to share this with many or simply a few adjust your ingredients accordingly. I’ll be bringing servings for all my people so I like to make a HUGE batch.
Ingredients: (organic when possible)
About 4 Lbs (dry) Black Eyed Peas (soaked overnite and drained)
2-3 T coconut oil or bacon fat
4 yellow onions (chopped)
head of celery (chopped) (not traditional but feeling it this year)
1 head garlic (minced)
Water (as needed)
10 bay leaves
2 T caraway seeds
Fresh Rosemary & Thyme (both optional if you have them)
1 t smoked salt
1 t sea salt
1 t cayenne pepper
1/4 c blackstrap molasses (optional)
3 lbs of brown rice (this year I am using a combo of different colored rices, including red rice, japonica black rice, short grain brown rice & wild rice)
12 cups water
Overnite Soak 4 lbs (or more if you have a lot of people to share this dish with or less) Black Eyed Peas
in the AM Drain and Rinse
Chop one large yellow onion per pound of peas and as much garlic as you desire (I use a whole head for 4 lbs of peas)
Chop head of celery
Using your oil or fat of choice (I like either bacon fat or coconut oil depending whether I am making it vegetarian or not) Saute onions in big skillet or heavy bottomed large pot (I used a 7.5 quart enameled cast iron french oven) on medium heat till transparent
Reduce heat add garlic
Add bay leaves (for energy), cayenne pepper (speeds luck and good fortune), caraway seeds (to fire up prosperity), fresh rosemary (for protection & a warm home), thyme (Protection and Cleansing & to Bring About an Increase in Money) and salt & pepper to taste
Add soaked and drained blackeyed peas stir to mix with onions & herbs
Add liquid (I used broth & water to almost cover: about 2 inches down from top) and 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses.
Cover and cook till peas are tender (add more salt to taste, black pepper and thyme optional)
In separate pot make rice to mix with peas
ratio of 1 cup brown rice / 2 cups water
Bring rice & water to boil, reduce to low and simmer for 45 mins or so with lid on tightly, check to see that water is cooked off, turn off heat and let sit covered
Collards for Cash
2-4 bunches collard greens
1 large yellow onion
salt to taste
olive oil, coconut oil or bacon fat (from the bacon you’ve cooked to crumble on top of the greens)
Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
wash and trim bottom stems off collard leaves
with sharp knife cut leaves across horizontally into 1″ ribbons
chop onion well and saute with olive oil in large cast iron skillet till almost golden
simultaneously place cut collards in big pot with steamer basket to keep water from touching greens and steam till well wilted but still bright green
Transfer steamed greens into skillet saute and mix well with onions, add salt to taste and about 2T vinegar remove from heat when greens have reduced in size and look darker.(Optional) Crumble bacon pieces over the greens and stir them through
Serve in dish layer collards first, rice next, peas spooned over all of it, enjoy!
For me SHARING is a big part of this prosperity spell. I sincerely believe that we prosper best when all around us prosper too! As I cook I put all my gratitude & visions for the people I love and a THRIVING YEAR for ALL OF US!