by guest blogger Rosemary Harris
I know...for the last six weeks, ever since Thanksgiving, you've been baking and cooking up a storm. You probably have enough leftovers to last well into the new year. And perhaps even (as I do) a few extra pounds.
But here's one dish that legend says you really should make and eat on New Year's Day. The origins of the legend are fuzzy but eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is supposed to bring a year of prosperity and good luck. Don't ask me why but - hey, who doesn't want to start the year with a little edge?
What is it? A super, simple rice and peas dish that's flexible enough to fit anyone's taste. The rice and the black-eyed peas (or peas or beans of your choice) are the only constants. Almost any green veggie--kale, swiss chard, collard, turnip or mustard greens can be added. The peas or beans are supposed to represent coins and the greens---well, can you say greenbacks?
Here's a basic recipe.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped ham (optional)
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
1 quart chicken stock
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
Salt, black pepper, and cayenne
3 cups steamed white rice
Heat oil in a large soup pot, add ham and sear on all sides. Add onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, cook until onion is translucent. Add the black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, thyme, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the peas are creamy and tender, stir occasionally. If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock. Seasoning to taste and serve over rice.
Tweak to make it your own, and have a Happy--and prosperous--New Year!
After several careers in book retailing, publishing, direct marketing, and video/television/public television, Rosemary Harris traded in her pumps for a yellow legal pad and a stack of pencils and started writing the first book in her Dirty Business mystery series, the Agatha and Anthony-nominated Pushing Up Daisies. Rosemary's latest book, The Bitches of Brooklyn, is the first in a new series.
Check out Rosemary's website. Find her on Facebook and Twitter, too!