Hoppin' John is a traditional Southern dish served on New Year's Day. The black eyed peas represent coins and another traditional side dish, collard greens, represent crisp green dollar bills...so together these wonderfully colorful veggie dishes are thought to bring good fortune in the coming year. Well, New Year's is a long way off, but I needed a change-up in my starches lately. These flavors come together in a way that melt in your mouth, while the colors just dazzle in a serving bowl!
2 cups black-eyed peas
3-4 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound smoked ham, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 jalapeno, cored, seeded, and diced
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
Place the peas in a saucepan with the water and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer about 20 minutes, just until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, place the olive oil in a separate large saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ham and cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until the ham is light brown around the edges. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno, and cook and stir until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice, thyme, and salt and cook and stir until the rice is coated. Add the stock and stir only once to mix, reduce the heat to low, cover, and summer about 10 minutes.
Drain the peas and add to the pan with the rice. Continue to cook, covered, another 10 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed, the peas are tender, and the rice is fluffy. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley, cilantro, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.
Recipe adapted from Southern Kitchen, by Sara Foster.