Search this blog


Friday, January 1, 2016

Hoppin' John

It is sort of a tradition in the US to eat Black-Eyed peas on New Year's day.  Having lived in the US all my life, I had never heard of this tradition until I started getting interested in cooking and blogging.  I don't really remember any specific tradition on New Year's day (besides detoxing from the night before).  This southern tradition adds to the long list of traditions from all over the world symbolizing good fortune.  I am keen to these little bits and pieces of knowledge, especially when sharing a tradition from one country in a totally different country.  It makes for a wonderful intro before starting the meal.
In many cultures, eating beans or lentils is said to bring good fortune because they are round.  All round things represent coins.  Beans and lentils tend to swell while they cook, representing the growing good fortune.  I usually do black-eyed peas around the New Year but I usually do it in the form of pakoras.
In the middle east, India, and Africa, I've read accounts such as this.  It's funny how in the end people from all parts of the world have common acts in the name of tradition.
Couldn't we all just get along?
In the US, collard greens are usually added to the bean tradition because the green represents bills.. and it couldn't hurt to wish a few Benjamins to someone in need for the new year.
Pork is also essential across the globe to bring "good luck" on New Year's day.  From Asia to Africa to Europe, and finally to the Americas.. pork is one of the main highlights of the day.  The reason, apparently, is that they search for food using their snout, always moving forward, which is a good way of moving through life.  Birds, on the other hand, scratch the Earth using a backward motion, so it is better not to eat birds on the first day of the year.
I usually steer clear of pork because it's not very nutritious.. but smoked pork belly is really a treat.. especially if it's only once a year..
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

30cL (10 floz) dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight 
1 Tablespoon
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
250g (8.8 oz) piece of top quality smoked pork belly with rind, sliced (or bacon)
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Diced
5 cups water or broth
1 tsp freshly ground black Pepper
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
Serve with:
cooked rice (the best is Carolina Gold if you can find it)
sauteed kale
chopped green onions
1.  Heat the butter in a pan and sweat the onions.
2.  Add the pork belly slices and cook until the aroma is nice and smokey.. then add the garlic and bell pepper.
3.  Swish around for a few minutes, then transfer into a slow cooker with the black-eyed peas, bay leaves, water or broth, and black pepper.  Cook on low for 5-7 hours.
4.  Add the vinegar into the slow cooker.  Taste and add salt or pepper if needed.  Mine needed absolutely no salt.
5.  Remove the bay leaves and pork rind before serving.
I served over some leftover basmati and red thai rice with a hefty serving of sautéed kale, topped with green onions.

I put this on in the morning before going on my first hike of the year and discovering yet again what a beautiful place I live in.  I discovered canyons I can rock climb and waterfalls with wading pools with blue lagoon type of scenery.. right in my back yard.
So as I came home.. deep earthy aroma was a beckoning call to hungry souls.
Everybody licked their plates.. of course!
This will be my New Year's day tradition from now on as well...
Print Friendly and PDF

No comments:

Post a Comment