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The Final Word Nov/Dec 2017 Issue


A Helping of Good Luck

Southern culinary tradition tells us eating a bowl of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good luck. Some folks add a helping of collard greens for good measure. The black-eyed peas (which are really beans, not peas) are said to resemble coins, while the greens remind us of folding money.

Many Southerners take their lucky legumes in the form of the classic Lowcountry dish, Hoppin’ John, a satisfying rice-and-beans dish with strong African and Caribbean roots. According to the Southern Foodways Alliance, rice and field peas (including black-eyed peas) have been cultivated in this country since the 1700s.

Here’s a Hoppin’ John recipe to make and enjoy, and we wish you good health and good fortune for 2018.

Lowcountry Hoppin’ John

lngredients: ½ pound thick-cut bacon or salt pork; 2 cups dried black-eyed peas soaked in cold water overnight; 4 cups water; 1 cup chopped onion; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp freshly ground pepper; 1 bay leaf; 1 ¾ cups raw long-grain rice

Method: In a large saucepan over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove meat and set aside, keeping bacon fat in pot. Add drained peas to pot with 4 cups of water, onion, salt, and pepper. Bring to rolling boil. Stir and reduce heat to maintain a strong simmer. Cook uncovered for one or two hours until peas are tender.

While peas are cooking, chop bacon and cook rice according to directions. When peas are tender, strain the water, remove bay leaf, add meat to beans, and serve over rice. Add scallions for garnish and a dash of hot sauce.

Brent Hofacker/fotolia




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