Hey! How was your Christmas? Or are you nearing the end of Hannukah? My gift giving holidays are over, at least officially, according to the calendar. The closing ceremony was observed by my eating all of the dozen or so cookies I brought home in the course of one day, which also served as a handy reminder of why I don’t keep cookies in my house (I’m ready to make my healthy eating resolutions now!).
Unofficially, I had a Secret Santa exchange last night and one scheduled for the new year, so really, Christmas can go on as long as I want, or at least as long as I want to keep my book tree up. Sadly, that won’t be much longer as I need a chicken recipe currently located somewhere at the base of it.
But I said new year, which means it’s almost here and raise your hand if you are more than ready! I’m so happy for 2017 to get started because the only possible way is up, right? To get through the last couple days of 2016 though I’m pretending it’s 1992. I’m off to Seattle, which means I packed all my flannel and I might go check out this cool new coffee shop I heard about.
If you, unlike me, are living the next 2 days in reality and you want to make sure you have the best 2017 you possibly can, I’ve got some Hoppin’ John here to help you do everything you can to make it happen. Southern tradition says it will bring you good fortune and luck in the new year to eat black eyed peas and greens. The peas represent coins and the greens represent dollars. I ate a whole pot this past week, so I’m ready for a flush 2017 (unless I negated it by eating it early? oops). It’s usually served over rice, which I’ve done here, but you could serve with cornbread too. If you don’t go in for superstition it’s also just a really warming, mostly healthy, filling pot of goodness to start your year with, and the ingredients are pretty cheap so maybe the path to a richer 2017 is just to spend less money on food?
Happy (and safe) New Year! See you in 2017!
Adapted from David Tanis
- 1 lb black eyed peas, soaked overnight (see note)
- 1 lb smoked ham hock or shank
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 onion, peeled
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb collard greens, washed, stemmed, and cut into strips
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- white rice, for serving, enough for 5-6 servings
- tabasco sauce, for serving
- Add beans and meat to a large pot and cover with water. Turn the heat to high and add salt, onion, cloves, bay leaf, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the peas are tender. Add water as necessary as they cook and skim any foam that collects on the top.
- Remove the peas from the heat and remove the ham from the pot. Roughly chop the meat and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Heat until shimmering, then add the garlic and red pepper and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the collard greens and toss to coat with the garlic, then add salt to taste and 1/2 cup water and toss again. Add the chopped meat, reduce the heat to medium, partially cover the pan and cook for another 20 minutes, until collards are tender and the water has almost completely cooked off.
- While the greens are cooking, make the rice for serving according to package directions.
- To serve, scoop the rice into bowls and top with the greens and meat, then ladle the peas and their broth over top. Garnish generously with scallions and tabasco.
- Try to remember to soak the black eyed peas overnight. If you forget, you can do a quick soak by doing the following: rinse beans and add to a large pot with 6-8 cups of water. Bring to a rapid boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover, then let steep for 1 hour. This is the method I used since I forgot to soak my beans, but it's a little harder on the structure of the beans than the more gently overnight soak. If you look closely at the photos above you can see that my beans were a little worse for wear by the end of the cooking process. So it works, but if you want pretty beans, remember to soak them! Don't use canned beans or they'll be mush at the end.