Hoppin' john (craig claiborne)

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
⅛ pounds Streaky bacon or salt pork*; cut into small cubes
⅓ cup Diced carrot
½ cup Celery; finely chopped
⅔ cup Onion; finely chopped
10 ounces Fresh or frozen black-eyed peas
1 \N Clove garlic; whole
2¾ cup Water; (approximately)
6 \N Sprigs fresh thyme
1 \N Bay leaf
\N \N Salt to taste; optional
¼ teaspoon Dried hot red pepper flakes
1 cup Rice
2 tablespoons Butter
1 \N Ripe tomato; cored
¼ pounds Sharp cheddar cheese; finely grated
\N cup Scallion (including green part); finely chopped

GARNISHES

* (about ½ cup)

Put the bacon or salt pork in a saucepan and cook, stirring often, until all the cubes are crisp. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the peas, garlic, about 1-¼ cup water, or to barely cover, thyme, bay leaf, salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to the boil and let simmer, uncovered, 30 to 40 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Remove from heat. Put the rice in a saucepan and add 1-½ cups water and salt to taste. Bring to the boil and let simmer, covered 17 minutes. Stir in the butter. (Or, cook the rice as you normally would). Cut the unpeeled tomato into ¼-inch cubes; there should be about 1 cup.

Arrange the hot rice in the center of a platter. Spoon the hot pea mixture, including liquid over the rice. Scatter the cheese over the peas. Place tomato cubes around the rice. Scatter the scallions over the tomatoes.

Serve immediately.

NOTES : From the book: Black-eye or black-eyed peas seem to figure ubiquitously on Southern tables, and Yankee visitors seem to look at them askance. They are not necessarily country fare, as many people claim them to be. They appear on the table of rich and poor, the educated and the uneducated alike, and are eaten with equal enthusiasm. They are the basis of a dish known as Hoppin' John, the origin of which name no one seems to be able to explain. The dish is....one of the most traditional of Southern dishes. It is served in many Southern homes on New Year's Day to bring all those assembled good luck throughout the year. This is a modernized version demonstrated for me by Bill Neal, a fine young North Carolina chef.

Recipe by: Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking, 1987, p. 187 Posted to recipelu-digest Volume 01 Number 422 by Lou Parris <lbparris@...> on Dec 30, 1997

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