I only make Hoppin' John once a year (on New Year’s Eve). But you know what? That’s gonna change.
At the new year, I figure it’s my chance to work in lots of black-eyed peas, and it goes well with collard greens (both for good fortune). But I love the hoppin' john recipe that I cook from so much that I moan and sigh with dread over every bite until the last pea is gone.
And though I do think there’s something to be said for dishes saved for special occasions, I’ve decided this one’s too good to cook just once a year. It’s simple and warm both in temperature and spice, and the rice -- plump partly from a soak in beer – tastes like how a pub feels in winter.
I found this recipe in a copy of GQ magazine back in 1998. I still have the original page -- ripped out, crinkled, stained and hole-punched for the binder where I keep favorites.
But even more than taste, I’m hoping that this meal will remind me throughout the year – not just on January 1 – that it’s okay to start fresh again. And again. And again.
Adapted from Steve Steinberg’s recipe in GQ
1 ½ cups dried black-eyed peas
1 cup uncooked rice
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
About ¼ pound spicy pork sausage, sliced
About ¼ pound mild chicken sausage, sliced
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup beer (I like to use Yazoo Dos Perros.)
1. Place black-eyed peas in a deep pot. Add enough cold water to cover by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes or until peas are soft. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for an hour. Drain peas, reserving the liquid and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, sauté onion and peppers in oil for 5 minutes. Add sausage slices and sauté for another 5 minutes or until onions are almost clear. Add rice and stir to coat. Add drained black-eyed peas, spices, 2 cups of the reserved liquid and beer. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Stir, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from stove and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Serve with cornbread, collard greens and hot sauce (I like Frank's).