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Monday, December 28, 2009

Please Pass The Peas

It must have been a number of years ago when we went to a New Year's Day party where our Southern hostess presented us with a bowl of delicious marinated black-eyed peas; she explained that eating them on the first day of the year had always been a tradition in her family and was thought to serve up a side of good luck as well. I've made some form of black-eyed peas on that auspicious holiday ever since.

The December issue of Saveur included a recipe for Hoppin' John Soup that I can't wait to make in a couple of days. Along with the peas, among other things, there's ham and a smoked ham bone thrown in there, with garlic and collard greens. Now, doesn't that sound like a marvelous way to ring in the new year?

Hoppin' John Soup
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
1 smoked ham bone or two hocks
1⁄4 cup canola oil
1⁄2 cup finely chopped cooked ham
1⁄4 tsp. red chile flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeƱo, stemmed, seeded,

 and finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 lb. collard greens, ribs removed,

 leaves roughly chopped
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
5 cups cooked long-grain white rice
Chopped tomatoes and scallions, for garnish
1. Bring peas, ham bone, and 8 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, skimming foam occasionally, until peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain peas, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid along with ham bone; set aside.
2. Heat oil in a 12-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped ham, chiles, garlic, jalapeƱos, carrot, onion, celery, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add reserved black-eyed peas, ham bone, and reserved cooking liquid, along with collards and 12 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until collards are tender, about 1 hour. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Spoon rice into bowls and ladle soup over rice and add garnishes.
SERVES 8 – 10
This recipe was first published in Saveur in Issue #125
Photo credit: Todd Coleman

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