Today: Want some good luck in 2014? Make a pot of Hoppin' John.
Hoppin’ John is a traditional Southern New Year’s dish; they say that eating it on January 1st will bring you twelve months' worth of good luck and prosperity. Traditional Hoppin' John is made with black-eyed peas, rice, onion, and bacon, but there are dozens of variations. I’ve seen Hoppin’ John dishes with collard greens, tomatoes, spinach, and a wide variety of spices.
Luckily, I can think of few holiday dishes that are easier to veganize than this one. I like to keep my Hoppin' John fairly simple, beginning with a base of celery, onion, and pepper, and then adding black-eyed peas and brown basmati rice. I also add tomatoes for extra flavor and acid. The dish is so hearty that you can serve it on its own, but steamed or sautéed collard greens make a perfect accompaniment.
More: Smoky Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili also fits the bill for hearty winter fare.
To help make the dish more authentic, I like to add a bit of smoked paprika. It's an invaluable secret weapon in vegan soups, stews, and bean dishes, standing in nicely for bacon's smokiness. If you don’t have it, regular paprika will do nicely, too.
Happy New Year!
2 cups black-eyed peas, dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
One 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups dried long-grain brown rice or brown basmati rice
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 green onions, green parts only, chopped
Photos by James Ransom