Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hoppin' John

First recipe form new-found bargain cookbook (see previous post). I am from the South, and yes Florida is the south, I mean come on, has anyone looked at a map or globe lately? If we were any further south we would be in the Caribbean. So I grew up on Southern cuisine. But it was always loaded with bacon fat, ham hocks, salt back, pig knuckles, you name it, it when in the beans and greens (which were usually collards).

But as I got older and learned to cook and then became a vegetarian (the first time) I learned there were options out there and that I did not have to load up my beans and greens with animal fat for them to taste good.

I was/is still a big fan of black eyed peas. I could eat them every day of the week. So when I found out what Hoppin' John was, I was delighted to know that I had been eating that all of my life. My family ever referred to it as Hoppin' John, just plain 'ol black eyed peas, which was accompanied by rice (which my mother or grandmother never learned how to cook) and tomatoes (usually canned at home). Good eats. And I always topped it with a chopped onion and some hot vinegar, and banana peppers, or anything else that would kick it up a notch. Great memories.

So when I was skimming through this lovely little gem I recently picked up I came across Hoppin' John. I had all the ingredients (always a plus when trying a new recipe) and decided to give these black eyed peas a whirl. This recipe is slightly different from the ones I make. Mine are smokier, there are a cleaner taste with a bit of a bite. Still the bowl was empty by the end of dinner. Try this guys out and you will sigh y'all were buddies with Paula Deen.

1&1/4 cups dry black eyed peas
4 cups water
1&1/2 cups chopped onion
1 clove garlic (I think I used 2 , oooops)
1 bay leaf
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t cayenne pepper
8 ounces tempeh
1 T low-sodium soy sauce (We use tamari)
Salt to taste
Soak peas overnight (We don't do this, for this bean cooks up quite fast). Bring to a rolling boil then turn down to a high simmer and let cook. (But do not cook until the beans is mushy). Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, black pepper and cayenne pepper.

Brush the tempeh on both sides with soy sauce; set aside for 5 minutes. Coarsely chop the tempeh and add to the peas. Simmer another hour (Check the firmness of your beans, for you may not need an extra hour) Remove and discard the bay leaf Mash the peas slightly to make a sauce.

We served this in an oblong casserole dish over a bed of rice and with a medium freshly chopped tomato on top. This was a complete meal for Savanah and I. Good eats!

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