Hoppin' John

It is said that eating this classic Southern dish on New Years Day will bring you good fortune in the coming months. At the very least least I should imagine that all the starch, protein and fibre that it contains will go some way to soaking up any excesses from the previous night!
It’s a wonderfully comforting and satisfying dish that you can easily modify to suit your own tastes and requirements. There are probably hundreds of different versions out there. Traditionally it’s made using bacon or ham hock but, as I am meat averse, I’ve left this out, although I don’t think that it suffers at all for it as there’s still plenty of flavour to go around. By all means add some chopped celery to the frying onions and the chili is totally optional of course.
I like to use brown rice but white is fine and I once tried a really nice rissotto-style version made with arborio. This can easily be a meal in itself or you can top it with some grilled seafood, chicken or spicy sausages.

Ingredients
serves 4

1 vegetable stock cube
250g rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion
1 pepper (red or green or 1/2 and 1/2 like mine)
1 clove garlic
1 chili
salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste (I used 1 tsp)
1 tsp chipotle paste
3 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
450g black eyed peas
small bunch collard greens

 

Put the rice on to cook as you would normally along with the stock cube.
Dice the onion and fry it gently in the oil until tender. Dice the pepper and finely chop the chili and garlic and add these to the pan. Continue to fry for a few minutes more. Toss in the herbs and seasonings and add the beans.
Trim the ribs from the collard greens and shred them fairly thickly before adding to the pan. Pour a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquor from the rice over the greens and continue to gently simmer until the rice is ready.
Once the rice is cooked add this to the pan along with any remaining liquid and stir it all together before serving.

Hoppin' John