Hoppin' John 2021
Ringing in the new just as with any other holiday, includes a variety of traditions, mostly related to food. The Southern tradition is Hoppin' John, a delicious comfort food. A great blend of black-eyed peas, beans, collards, sausage, rice, and some aromatics that round things out. In the end, what you have is a cross between a stew and casserole, add a side of cornbread, and you are golden. Actually, yes, golden, because Hoppin' John's tradition is that it brings you luck and wealth in the New Year. The black-eyed peas represent coins, the collards paper money, and the cornbread gold. Seems simple enough, right? Plus, something so tasty and simple to begin a New Year is a great beginning.
You can find another version of Hoppin John here. This year, well, after 2020, tweaking things just seemed like a natural thing to do. Just mixing it up a bit, with the same great ingredients and a shortcut or two. What is different about this version, chopped frozen collards instead of fresh, leftover rice instead of cooking the rice with beans. Also, you could use frozen or canned black-eyed peas for more time savings. I still maintained the overnight soak of the black-eye peas. I added a new ingredient Leeks, of late they have been making a presence in many of my recipes.
I liked this version of Hoppin' John because it was lighter in both tastes and in the bowl. This recipe uses leftover rice, which can typically be found in my fridge. You can cook a fresh batch for this dish if you like, don't worry if it isn't cold. The flavor of the sausage is up to you. Any type will work with this. I prefer a spicy flavor such as Andouille or Chorizo. While we are on the spice subject, I also like to add a few dashes of hot sauce to my Hoppin' John after it is dished up. As noted earlier, another great addition is a side of warm, buttery, cornbread.
Hoppin' John 2021
1/2 bag dried black-eyed peas, prepared or 2 cups canned or frozen
3 leeks, split, clean, half-moon sliced - white - pale green part
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12-16 oz smoked sausage, cut into half-inch coins
15oz pkg chopped frozen collards
2 cups cooked rice
3 Tbl olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce (optional)
If you are using canned or frozen black-eyed peas, skip this step. Rinse the black-eyed peas, then place them in a heavy pot and cover them with at least 3 inches of water. Put the lid on, letting them soak overnight or for at least 7 hours. Be sure to drain and rinse the black-eyed peas before using them. Put the peas back in the heavy pot, add 2 cups of water, over medium heat bring to simmer, do not boil. Simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, until they are slightly tender. Drain, and set aside.
Over medium heat, in a heavy pot, add the olive oil, then the leeks, stirring for about 5 minutes until they begin to become tender. Add the onions to the leeks, season with salt and pepper, stirring until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the sausage, heat through, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, do not let it become brown, cook for one minute, stir in the rice, and cook for one minute. To this mixture, add the collard greens, black-eyed peas, and about 1 cup of water. Reduce temperature to a low, simmer, really slow, don't let the water boil out, for about 15 minutes, or collards are tender. Enjoy!