Feelin’ Lucky

I’ve never been a superstitious person. I like black cats (except my mom’s), and I far from freak out when they cross my path. I walked under a ladder tonight and didn’t think twice about it, but maybe that was because we were being handy and using our newly procured drill – I was overcome with excitement. I’ve broken a couple of mirrors in my lifetime, and most certainly have not had 7 years of bad luck.

In fact, there have been quite a few good years. Luck or not, I specifically think 2010 has been a pretty good one.

Speaking of luck, I’ve never been a big fan of black eyed peas. Word on the street, at least down South, is that a black eye pea-containing dish on New Year’s day will bring good luck for the rest of the year. My mom was (probably still is) an annual cowpea eater; the plastic bag of dried peas sat in the door of our fridge, opened but half-full, for months. I never ate them – for whatever reason, a saucepan of peas never looked, or smelled, appealing to me.

But this year, I figured what the hell. I came across a recipe that sparked my interest, and rather than making the dish at the end of November, I decided I may as well make it at the end of December, and eat the leftovers New Year’s Day. I mean, I’m not superstitious or anything, but still – may as well eat them on the “right” day, no?!

Meanwhile, I plan to open a few umbrellas indoors, step on a couple of cracks, spill some salt (but not in someone’s shoes), and maybe even go to sleep with my hair wet.

Despite all of those things, I have a good feeling about 2011. It’s gonna be somethin’, that’s for sure. So stay tuned ;).

Hoppin’ John (or Skippin’ Jenny, depending on when you eat it)
loosely adapted from Cooking Light, December 2010; serves 8

time commitment: 1.5 hours (30 minutes active time), plus soaking the beans overnight

i added a little more liquid than was needed, and my hoppin’ john was a little, er, soupy, but i actually liked it. however, once the liquid disappeared, I have to say it was better without, so i’ve adjusted below to reflect that. i also upped the spiciness a little (ok, a lot) and tossed in some butternut squash, because I had some. feel free to leave it out if you want.

printable version

1 1/2  c dried black-eyed peas
2  t olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small poblano pepper, diced
3  garlic cloves, minced
1  serrano pepper, minced
1/2  t smoked paprika
1/2  t ground cumin
2 1/2  c reduced sodium chicken/turkey broth
3/4 t dried thyme
1/2  t freshly ground black pepper
1/4  t salt
2 T hot pepper sauce (Frank’s), plus more at end to taste
6  oz (~2 links) andouille sausage, cut into thin slices
1  (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1  bay leaf
2 c butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ cubes, optional
1 c uncooked long-grain  brown rice
1/4  c thinly sliced green onions

Wash black eyed peas, tossing peas that appear discolored; place in a large bowl. Cover with water to 2 inches above peas; soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through serrano); sauté 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in smoked paprika and cumin; saute 1 minute. Add peas, broth, and next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf), stirring to combine. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 50 minutes or until peas are tender. Toss butternut squash, if using, into pot at the end, for about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Meanwhile, make rice according to package instructions. Fluff rice with a fork, and stir into pea mixture. Top with green onions and more hot sauce, if desired.

2 thoughts on “Feelin’ Lucky

  1. Kelli Rick says:

    Thanks for posting the Hopping John recipe!! My husband made it on New Year’s day, and it was absolutely delicious!!! We’ll definitely be making this again!! The added bonus is the way the house smells while it is cooking, SO GOOD!!

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