Dec 26, 2012 6:00 PM

Let's make a meal: Hoppin' John bean dish

News 4 food contributor Jennifer English stopped by with this dish. Here's what she had to say:

"Ok so according to the Mayans we got lucky on December 21, 2012. The world did not end. But if ever there was a time to cover our lucky bases it would be New Year's Eve 2012 as the clock strikes midnight and ushers in 2013. With the New Year of 2013 the universal traditions of eating "lucky" foods in order to encourage more luck in the coming year seem more important than ever. I know that not everyone believes in the ideas of good luck and bad luck. But in 2013 there might be epidemic Triskaidekaphobia, aka fear of the number thirteen. This year we need to eat lucky food as much to avoid bad luck as to foster good luck.

Almost every culture in the world has an edible tradition in which foods are eaten to symbolize health, wealth, long life, good luck and overall prosperity coming to the eater of the lucky food for the coming year. Certain foods are the star of traditions from different countries. Popular recurring foods include ,pork, dumplings, greens, long noodles, black eyed peas, fish and round foods like doughnut or lentils.

In the American South a dish called Hoppin' John. I turn to James Beard Award winner John T. Edge, Director of the Southern Foodways Alliance for a classic version of this New Year's staple. The West African rice and bean roots of this dish, when paired with lucky money greens are my surefire bet for New Year's Eve luck and appetite fortification. Today in the contemporary South it is essential eating for the New Year. Here in Tucson I suggest that when paired with a smokey meaty morsel from Brushfire BBQ( like their pork ribs in spicy sauce) any bad luck will go runnin' away from you in 2013. If you are not a believer? How much more lucky could any of us be then to eat great rice, beans, greens and ribs?

Hoppin' John

Main Course
Serves 6
Recipe courtesy of Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking by John Martin Taylor

• 1 cup small dried beans such as cowpeas or black-eyes
• 5 to 6 cups water
• 1 dried hot pepper (optional)
• 1 smoked ham hock
• 1 medium onion, chopped (about ¾ cup)
• 1 cup long-grain white rice
• Method:
Wash and sort the peas. Place them in the saucepan, add the water, and discard any peas that float. Gently boil the peas with the pepper, ham hock, and onion, uncovered, until tender but not mushy - about 1½ hours - or until 2 cups of liquid remain. Add the rice to the pot, cover, and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, never lifting the lid.

Remove from the heat and allow to steam, still covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove the cover, fluff with a fork, and serve immediately.


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