I am not a southern gal – in fact, the opposite is true! I was born in New Jersey and transplanted to South Florida for thirty years and now live in the mountains of North Carolina. Growing up in New Jersey we ate pork and sauerkraut on New Years Day but here in NC, the tradition is to eat greens and black-eyed peas. We were told eating this would ensure a great year. Because hubs and I like to try new things we went with the black-eyed pea thing many years ago and it has “stuck”.
Here’s what I make almost every New Years day, it’s easy and it’s kind of good. Eating it or not eating it has had NOTHING to do with what kind of year we have – just keeping it real!
Quick Hoppin’ John
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 T bacon drippings (I refuse to add this – just cannot fathom putting bacon grease into food; I will fry up a couple pieces of lean, grass fed pork bacon and add it.)
- 2 15-oz cans of black-eyed peas, well drained, OR, 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas.
- 1 cup chopped cooked ham
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 3 cups hot cooked rice (white is best but brown is healthier)
- Salt to tast
- Sliced sweet onion, optional
- In a large saucepan, sauté the chopped onion with the bacon, until tender.
- Stir in the black-eyed peas, ham, and cayenne.
- Simmer for ten minutes.
- Stir in hot cooked rice and a little salt.
- Serve with sliced sweet onion.
- Serves 4-6.
The Greens: Wash a bunch of collard greens real good to remove all sand and grit. Drain. Rough chop. Put them all in a big pot with about an inch or two of boiling salted water. Let steam and wilt until tender. Serve with the Hoppin’ John!
Bon Appetit! And, Happy New Year!