Wednesday, December 29, 2010

No New Year's Resolution for Me

I've never been one to create New Year's resolutions, but I do believe in preparing for the new year. I especially like making sure my apartment is clean top to bottom, and I'm going to be working on that the rest of this week. I HATE clutter, and I like to constantly live in a state of being ready to move. Not that I'm going to move, just that being in a ready state is a fail safe way to live minimally without clutter! Currently, I have 2 boxes of mementos that need to be filed away and organized, but those are packed away in a closet for now until I can determine what system to use (I LOVE The Container Store, but it's often very pricey apart from their big sales a couple times each year - I see the Elfa sale is going on now!)

One tradition I do want to establish is a New Year's meal. One recipe I've been holding onto for over 5 years is Hoppin' John. I had never heard about it before until I saw the recipe in The Week, one of my favorite magazines (it's like NPR in print) and I misplaced it but, I came across another version of the recipe in Hallmark Magazine in 2007 and saved it in my tearsheet binder. I like this version because it's heavy on pot likker and others I've read look more like a side dish. For those of you who don't know, pot likker is the amazing, flavorful liquid left after many soul food dishes including greens. It's best sopped up with cornbread. Yum yum!

Hoppin John has black eyed peas which is a trademark of good luck for the new year and chorizo, which is one of my favorite sausages. My dad makes Portugese kale soup with chorizo, and I can never get enough of it.

Anyway, here's the recipe for Hoppin' John:

Photo Credit: Hallmark Magazine
Makes 10 servings

Total Time: 1 hr 5 minutes plus overnight soaking

1 lb dried black-eyed peas
1 small smoked ham hock (about 1/2 lb)
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
10 cups water
1/2 lb fresh spicy chorizo sausage or spicy Italian sausage
1 cup rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced scallions (6 to 7)
1 large red bell pepper, diced

1. Soak the black-eyed peas overnight in water to cover by 2". Drain well.

2. In a large pot, combine the drained black-eyed peas, ham hock, bay leaves, garlic and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a high simmer, partially cover and cook until the peas are almost tender, about 45 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, price the chorizos in several places with the tines of a fork. Fill a medium skillet with abouot 1/8" of water. add the sausages andbring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the chorizos until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Set them aside and discard the cooking juices. When cool enough to handle, cut the sausages into 1/2" dice.

4. Add the chorizos, rice and salt to the pot, re-cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the scallions and bell pepper about 10 minutes before the rice is done. If desired, pull off any meat from the ham hocks and add to the pot. Discard the bay leaves. 

Source: Hallmark Magazine, January 2007 

I'll post an update when I make it, but if any of our readers have made it before do you have your own variation?


  1. I'm making Hoppin John too! I've never had it with Chorizo though, it was always as a side to oxtails! We (well, I'VE never done it before, it was always my mom) cook it the same way!

  2. This sounds yummy! I really wish the hubby ate pork. I know we could probably substitute the pork for maybe smoked turkey or beef but lets be serious..That ain’t no Ham hock! Enjoy and Happy New Years

  3. @Christina ha ha! great minds think alike ;-) btw, DH and his family love oxtails so your version has me thinking maybe i should switch it up. . .

  4. @Sassy Wife Thank you! Happy New Years to you too =)