Hoppin’ John 2011

Hoppin' New Year!

This has been an unusual New Years Day for us. We usually don’t go out and then stay out on New Years Eve, but last night we found ourselves at a kick-ass house party that kept us out until 3AM. I don’t know how much sparkling wine we drank, but let’s just say it was a lot. When we got back to the apartment, we felt a bit peckish. Our first meal of the new year consisted of a much-loved standby, soft scrambled eggs with cheese and crispy prosciutto. We ate the eggs with a day old baguette remnant that we sliced into rounds and toasted. Not a bad beginning to a new year.

Our day got off to a bit of a slow start. We figured we likely missed people’s attention for Hoppin’ John recipes by the time we got around to cooking ours, but decided in the end to get this up to get a good start on this year’s writing as well. Hoppin’ John is a perfect, classic New Years dish, loaded with rich wonderful flavors and crazy nutritious. We ended up using refrigerated, Melissa’s pre-cooked black eyed peas we picked up at Andronico’s. They were the only option as the grocery had no dried peas and we forgot to pick some up earlier in the week. It turns out the grocery peas were pretty tasty so no regrets on this year’s shortcut.

We served the Hoppin’ John over jasmine rice and sautéed chard greens that were bright with the taste of rice vinegar and red chili flakes. At the table, the plate got an extra dusting of fresh ground black pepper and a dash or three of Tabasco. The smoky kielbasa coupled with the floral scent of the rice makes for a heady, aromatherapeutic experience. While not too hot, the jalapeno adds just a touch of extra warmth. This is the kind of dish we should all be eating more often.

Sauté of Chard

1 bunch chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, rough chop
pinch red pepper flakes
splash of rice vinegar
salt and pepper

Remove the stems from the chard leaves. Put the leaves aside. Cut the stems into a medium dice. In a sauté pan over medium heat add the olive oil and garlic cook for 30 to 1 minute. Add the chard stems, red pepper flakes and a small pinch of salt sauté for 2-3 minutes or until slightly soften. Roll the reserved leaves together in a cigar shape and cut the chard into inch wide ribbons. Add the leaves to the sauté pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If the pan is starting to dry out add a tablespoon of water and cover for 2-3 minutes, or until the leaves are tender. Before serving add a splash of rice vinegar.

Hoppin’ John

2 table spoons olive oil
6 oz. kielbasa sausage, quartered lengthwise and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 ribs celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 bay leaf
pinch of dry thyme
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups precooked black eyed peas

In a heavy stock pot or dutch oven, cook kielbasa in oil over medium heat until just slightly browned. Add everything but the chicken stock and black eyed peas to the pot with the kielbasa and sautée until vegetables soften, approximately 5 – 10 minutes. Add stock and peas and bring the pot to a low simmer. Cook, covered, for approximately 10 minutes or until the peas are tender. Discard bay leaf and serve over prepared jasmine rice with sauté of chard.

2 thoughts on “Hoppin’ John 2011

  1. Being from a southern family, kielbasa wouldn’t occur to us, Smoked andouille is required. Added some wild rice to the black eye peas (cooked separately because they take longer if you’re using pre-cooked peas.) for texture, finish with a splash of vinegar to brighten it up.

    You eat black eye peas on New Year to assure good luck and good health for the year.

    Cheers, and Happy New Year!


    • You’re right, of course. We took some shortcuts on this one. The result was tasty, but we’ll be planning next year’s Hoppin’ John a little more carefully. Agree that the vinegar makes a big difference – in this and many other bean dishes.

      Happy New Year!


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