Friday, January 3, 2014

Hoppin' John, aka Black Eyed Peas 'n Rice

Happy New Years! Foodwise, I celebrated the day with a dinner of black eyed peas, rice, and greens - a good combination for luck for the coming year. The peas bring luck and the greens bring wealth. Nice! This year, I made a hoppin' John dish in the New Orleans style with a little spice to heat things up. While black eyed peas are traditional on New Year's Day, they are so tasty and have so many health benefits, they should not be relegated to just one day. Enjoy them throughout the year.


8 oz. dried black eyed peas
4 slices bacon (optional, omit for vegetarian version)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped red, yellow, or green pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tsp. minced jalapeno pepper
2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 cups steamed brown rice

Directions: Cover black eyed peas with water, in a large stock pot, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour. Drain the beans. Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, and thyme to the peas, and bring to a simmer.

While the peas come to a simmer, cook the bacon, then drain on paper towels, and cut or crumble into 1/4 inch pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic, peppers and celery and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the bacon and cooked vegetables to the peas, and continue to cook until the peas are tender, about 30 minutes. If the liquid evaporates, add a little water or more chicken stock. When the peas are tender, season them with the vinegar, Tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper.

Serve over rice, then top with some of the onions.

Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a side dish.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Black eyed peas are a powerhouse in the healthy eating department. They're high in fiber, meaning that they're digested slowly so they even out blood sugar, an important part of staving off diabetes. They're also an excellent source of iron, magnesium and calcium. Just one cup provides 20% of those nutrients. If you find you get gas when you eat beans, try the product called "bean-o" - it works!

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