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Hoppin' John for the New Year!


If you are planning on adding some healthy additions to your diet in 2012, Ukiah Valley Medical Center Chef James Stuart has a New Year’s recipe to share that promises wealth and prosperity. “When I began cooking for a living almost 20 years ago, one of the first American food traditions I learned was to have black eyed peas, or “Hoppin’ John” on New Year’s Day. The tradition began in West Africa, brought by slaves, and was enhanced with cultural additions from the people of the West Indies, Caribbeanand Native America.”

Stuart went on to say, “The name itself is very much in dispute as to its origins. What I do know is that the combination of rice and beans makes for great comfort food, and is extremely beneficial to our bodies. Add the combination of braised greens and not only are you inviting good luck for the coming year, but a great healthy meal.” 

Vegetarian Hoppin’ John and Braised Greens

¾ c black-eyed peas, soaked overnight

½ c brown rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup yellow onion, diced small

¼ cup minced celery

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Bay leaf

Pinch of cayenne pepper

2 c vegetable stock

2 c peeled and diced tomatoes, canned

Salt and black pepper to taste

Your favorite hot sauce for taste and pleasure!

Drain the peas, place in saucepan over high heat, and cover with a mixture of half cold water and half vegetable stock by about 2 inches. After the peas come to a boil, skim off the foam, reduce heat to medium-low, partly cover, and simmer until just tender, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and transfer to bowl.

In a heavy bottomed 4 quart sauce pan, add the olive oil and put over medium heat. Add the brown rice and cook while stirring, until visibly toasted. Add the yellow onion and celery, and turn the heat down slightly and cook until onion starts to brown. Add the garlic, all the spices, and continue cooking for one minute longer. Add the diced tomato, the vegetable stock and the peas from the bowl.

Turn up the heat, bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until most of the liquid is gone, about 50 minutes.

Serves 4-6 people

Braised Greens

Collards, Kale, Chard or Mustard…

1 T Olive Oil or Butter

½ cup small diced onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 quarts packed, cleaned rough-chopped greens

1-2 tablespoons of red wine or white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Place a large enough pot over medium heat and allow to warm. Put the olive oil and onion in the pan and lightly sauté until onion starts to become translucent. Add the garlic and the greens at the same time. Continue cooking and stirring as the greens release water and begin to wilt. The type of greens will determine how long to cook. Finish greens with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Hoppin’ John.


-- UVMC --