Whenever the holidays come around, I like to plan elaborate menus and make traditional foods. For New Year’s, my family didn’t have any traditions, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to try out Hoppin’ John, a black eyed peas and rice dish. Hoppin’ John is a Southern soul food dish traditionally served on New Year’s Day and thought to bring good fortune in the New Year, especially when served with collard greens. Well, I first tried black eyed peas a few weeks ago and still had a box in the freezer, so I thought I’d use them up, and I love collard greens so I figured that was a safe bet as well. I was also going to have cornbread but I forgot until after the meal was long gone. Oops :) I also paired a pork chop with the meal because I saw it on some New Year’s menus and wanted to have some meat with the meal.
My camera is low on battery and I lost the charger (ordered one online but it’s not here yet), so apologies for the picture, which was taken with my PDA. It’s really too bad that it had to be like that today, because I think the meal looked pretty great.
Hoppin’ John recipe notes:
I didn’t use a ham hock; instead, I used The Cook’s Thesaurus (truly an awesome resource if you’re like me and like to use up what you have instead of buying special ingredients). It told me that ham hocks are primarily used to add a smoky flavor to a dish, and that chipotle peppers could be substituted. Well, I have some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in my fridge, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to use a bit up. I just took about a tablespoon of the sauce, but not the pepper itself, because I didn’t want it to get too spicy. It got plenty spicy just with that, and the flavor was really phenomenal. I also substituted brown rice for white rice because we all know that brown rice is better for you than white.
Garlic Collard Greens recipe notes:
This is just a quick little thing I like to throw together – I got the idea from another recipe that I believe involved chickpeas. Anyway, to make the garlic collards, put 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and heat it up. Add some minced garlic and let it pop. Then add some chopped up collard greens (I used about 2 cups). You can substitute any greens you want though – I’ve done mustard greens, kale, spinach, etc. Add 1 cup of water (or chicken broth if you want more flavor), and cook until the liquid runs out. Done in 10 minutes and pretty healthy!
Grilled Pork Chop recipe notes:
This really isn’t a recipe – I took a 4 oz pork chop, threw it on the George Foreman, and sprinkled it with a bit of black pepper before closing the lid. Once done, just sliced it and arrange it on the plate. It’s ready in about 8 minutes, and a great complement to a meal with a lot of other flavors.
The Hoppin’ John was absolutely phenomenal!!! I am so glad I took the time to find and try a soul food favorite that I’ve always heard about, but never had. It was a bit high in calories, but extremely filling, and definitely doable if you plan the rest of your day around it. I also think the pork chop was a bit unnecessary – I was pretty full just from the Hoppin’ John, and it has 108g of protein which is plenty. But seriously, I can’t emphasize how delicious the Hoppin’ John is – I’d give it 6 stars if I could. Just be warned that with the adobo sauce it’s a bit spicy, which is why I added milk to wash it down. The collard greens are a standard, so I knew they’d be good, and I thought they would add to my little traditional soul food meal. They did, and the whole meal was just really great. Hopefully the Hoppin’ John will stay true and bring luck in the new year!