Today I am making Hoppin' John.
Though I lived in Memphis for three-and-a-half years, I was not introduced to the tradition of making this dish on New Year’s Day until after I moved to Seattle. Some years ago, a woman I knew who had grown up in Florida told me about it.
I did not make it last year (maybe that’s why 2011 turned out to be a year best forgotten).
I’m not a superstitious person, but it’s a tasty dish, and making it can’t hurt.
I got this recipe from What's Cooking America, but I have tweaked it a little bit.
2 cups dried black-eyed peas
1 pound lean slab bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
Salt and black pepper to taste
Overnight, soak the black-eyed peas in cold water. Drain, rinse, and drain again.
Place the black-eyed peas, bacon, onion, red pepper, and broth in a large soup at least 1 hour, or until peas are tender (do not boil as the beans will burst).
Remove bacon and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return bacon to pot. Stir in rice, cover, and cook 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes 8 servings.