Friday, December 27, 2013

Hoppin' John for New Year's Day

I'm thinking I'll make Hoppin' John again on New Years' Day for Mr. B. It's a traditional Southern dish made from black eyed peas, ham, bacon and rice. It's a delicious dish and supposedly is a bringer of luck to "thems that eats it". The recipe I used follows.

Get your "mise en place" ready. 

Brown the bacon and remove to paper towels. Reserve for later.
Brown the ham and remove to a plate. Reserve for later.
Saute the onions, celery and peppers until beginning to brown. Add garlic and thyme and cook just until fragrant.
Add the broth, peas, rice, bay leaves and ham to the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook until the rice is done.
Remove the ham and cut into bite sized cubes. Fluff the rice.
Add bacon, ham and scallions to the mixture and serve immediately.
Serve with collard greens and cornbread for a nice New Year's luncheon.

Hoppin' John (Adapted from a recipe by America's Test Kitchen)

6 pieces of bacon chopped
1 (1- to 1 1/2-pound) boneless ham , cut into 3/4-inch-thick planks

onion, chopped fine   

celery ribs , chopped fine 

1/4 cup each chopped fine, red and green bell pepper  
garlic cloves , minced  

1/2  teaspoon dried thyme   

cups low-sodium chicken broth 

(16-ounce) bags frozen black-eyed peas   

bay leaves   

1 1/2  cups long-grain rice   

scallions , sliced thin  

1. BROWN PORK Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot and brown ham, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate with bacon.

2. COOK VEGETABLES Add onion, peppers and celery to pot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, peas, bay leaves, and browned ham and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until beans are just tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer ham to cutting board and cut into ½-inch pieces.

3. SIMMER RICE Place rice in fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl. Rinse under running water until water runs clear, about 1 minute. Drain rice well and stir into pot. Place square of aluminum foil directly on surface of simmering liquid. Simmer covered until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes, stirring and repositioning foil twice during cooking. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork. Stir in scallions, bacon, and ham. Serve.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Don't forget to watch The Queen's Speech tomorrow!

It's always a treat to see the old girl saying something that her government hasn't written for her. I do enjoy watching it.

In preparation, here's a bit of her sense of humor that we saw last year. At the end, If you look closely, you can just see her thinking to herself "Now let's see anyone top THAT!" Suh-nap!

Sunday, December 22, 2013