Archive | 7:15 pm

Happy New Year!

31 Dec

I received The Joy of Cooking for Christmas and I have been perusing this vast book, eyeing recipes to veganize.  One such recipe I stumbled upon was one for Hoppin’ John, a dish I have vaguely heard of, the description mentioned that it was to be eaten on New Year’s Day so I thought what a perfect opportunity to not only test my new book but become associated with Southern cuisine.

Hoppin’ John is traditionally a rice and black-eyed pea pilaf that is cooked with ham, sausage or bacon.  I have decided to ditch the meat by way of smoked tofu, which is an ingredient I’ve actually never used before.  (I’ve also never cooked with dried beans so this is all new territory people, seems to be an excellent way to start the new year)  Sometimes on New Year’s Day, a new dime is hidden in the dish and the person who finds the coin is guaranteed good luck throughout the rest of the year.  I have decided to not participate in this custom as I am fearful of killing someone which would be a horrible way of starting 2008.

For this recipe, I used my brand new cast iron dutch oven I bought on Boxing Day for only $30!  If you don’t have an oven safe pot, just transfer the mixture to an oven-safe dish with a cover when you need to bake it.

Hoppin’ John

adapted from The Joy of Cooking.

For the beans:

1 1/4 cups dried black-eyed peas
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 1/2 onions)
2 cloves of garlic
1 package of smoked tofu (my package was 100 g)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
3 cups water
salt and pepper

For the rice:

Vegetable broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 package (I ended up only using 3/4 of the 100 g package) Smoked Tofu, diced (I would have liked to use tempeh bacon but I had no tempeh so if you have some and are inclined to make a batch, use a few strips!)
1 1/4 cups brown rice
1 tsp salt

To finish:

1/4 cup parsley, minced

For the beans:

1.  Combine 3 3/4 cups of water and the peas in a pot.  Cover and soak overnight.

2.  Once your peas are soaked, drain and rinse them well.  Place them in a pot and add onions, garlic, smoked tofu, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, bay leaves and water.  Bring to a simmer and gently simmer uncovered until the peas are tender (about 30-50 minutes).

3.  Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.  Remove and toss the bay leaves.  Transfer the pea mixture to a bowl and season with the salt and pepper to your liking.  Cover and set the bowl aside.

For the rice: 

1.  Add enough vegetable broth to the reserved cooking liquid to make 2 1/2 cups of liquid.

2.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

3.  Using the pot you used to cook the beans, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the smoked tofu (or tempeh bacon) and cook until lightly browned.

4.  Add the rice and salt.  Stir to coat the rice with the oil for about 1 minute.  Add the pea cooking liquid and pea mixture.  Bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, stir once, cover and place in oven.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid.

5.  Add the parsley (which as you can see in my photo, I forgot to do), fluff the rice and mix it all up.  Before diving in, let the dish stand uncovered for 10 to 30 minutes.

Happy 2008, everyone!