June 3, 2009

Healthie Hoppin' John

Perhaps it's because I'm from the South, but of all the wonderful food I had when I was at Restaurant 3 in Clarendon, a side of Hoppin' John was what I just couldn't stop eating! It was deliciously buttery, and it reminded me how good a basic rice dish can be. Before I go on to explain how I made my own (probably healthier) version, I should say thank you, by the way to my dear friends Erin (Corgy) and Stephanie (StephCo) for the wonderful gift card to go there while Ben was in town last! They surprised me with the card for my birthday :)

Ok, so back to the food... For the folks who don't know what Hoppin' John is, it's a Southern version of rice and beans, typically made with black eyed peas ad bacon fat... afterall it is a Southern dish.

When I told my mom I was making it, she said, "but it's not even New Years
?!" The tradition is to have this on New Years Day to bring you wealth for the coming year, because the peas are symbolic for coins. Well clearly the wealth part is all a bunch of phuey... I'm still totally broke. But, when cooked sans pork fat, the dish is just another great side that can be a small vegetarian meal.

Recipes vary a lot. Emmeril, for instance, uses a little green pepper and celery in his version. I was going for an exact replica of the version I had that night at Restaurant 3, though, which included green onions, halved grape tomatoes, black eyed peas and rice.

I never used a recipe really, but here is what I did and I was totally pleased with it! I can't really claim to have directions to give y'all, since I didn't really follow any to begin with, but here's a loose structure of what I did.

What you need:

Amounts will depend on how much you want to make
  • brown rice
  • chicken broth
  • grape tomatoes
  • scallions
  • blackeyed peas
  • 1 packet of Goya brand ham flavoring (gives you that great flavor of cooking with a ham hock, without any calories!)
Directions (or lack thereof):
  1. Cook rice according to package. For extra flavor, substitute half, or all of water for boiling with chicken broth. Add the ham concentrate packet to the liquid.
  2. When the liquid has absorbed by half, add the beans. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the tomatoes for the last minute or so.
  3. When rice is done cooking, and all of the liquid is absorbed, stir in a tablespoon or two or light butter.
  4. Toss in sliced green onions, and voila:
I also just made this last night with wild rice and garbanzo beans, and left out the ham concentrate because the chicken broth and the wild rice already had a good flavor. The wild rice I thought was also particularly pretty in this version. So honestly you can make this with any variety of rice and beans. A cup of this is about 4 points; a great little meal.

1 comment:

  1. oooo i will have to try that goya packet sometime!