Welcome to 2016! The holiday festivities have been plentiful and I am feeling renewed to start another year. Ben and I have been in the States with family since the week of Christmas, which has been delightful, and tomorrow start our return journey to London from Raleigh, with a quick stop in New York.
Today though, we celebrated the new year as it should be: with each other, with family and with delicious home cooked meals. My father-in-law put the Rose Bowl on the television, Ben drank whisky and we wrote down our resolutions — just one each, on cream Crane & Co. stationery and sealed to be opened on December 31. We started working on dinner together and opening bottles of wine once the sun had set. My family always served a traditional meal on New Year’s Day, including Hoppin’ John. A blend of slow cooked black-eyed peas and rice, the very Southern dish is meant to bring prosperity for all who eat it in the year ahead. There are a variety of ways it can be made, but here’s how I prepare it without bacon (which is more common), and adapted from a favorite Food52 recipe:
Kristen’s Hoppin’ John
2 cups black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
Chicken stock (or vegetable — really whatever you have on-hand)#
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onion in olive oil on medium heat until soft — about five minutes — and then add the celery and green pepper for another five minutes. Toss in a teaspoon of thyme and two dashes of paprika. Add the black-eyed peas and then chicken stock (I used two cups stock, two cups water), leaving to simmer for 30-40 minutes until black-eyed peas are cooked. Drain any excess liquid. Add tomatoes. Add dash of cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice, piping hot!
Hoppin’ John (which my husband calls Jumpin’ Jack) in the making.
May your bellies be full of delicious food, and your new year filled with happiness. I, for one, am excited to see where this next year takes us. x