Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hoppin' John

When I told Kevin I was making rice and beans for dinner, he balked, meaning that he didn't think he'd be satisfied, so I settled for making Latin Chicken, and Hoppin' John. I've posted about the Latin Chicken before, and we really like the flavor, so I won't get into that recipe, except to say that it was a nice addition to the Hoppin' John. For those who don't know, and have a thirst for history, Hoppin' John is a classic Southern dish, that originated in West Africa. Traditionally, Hoppin' John is eaten on New Year's Day, and is thought to bring a prosperous year, filled with luck. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, kale etc. along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money. When you eat Hoppin' John after that day, you can call it "Skippin' Jenny," which signifies the frugality that will further the hope of prosperity in the new year. Good info, huh?

Anyway, I got this recipe from the Eating Well site, and though it was supposed to be adapted, using barley instead of rice, I used brown rice anyway, I also substituted carrots for the celery, since my celery looked less than stellar. The end result was a tasty, lightly spiced rice and beans dish, that was really comforting and filling. For me, this could have easily been a main dish, but for Kevin, it was really nice with chicken. As an added bonus, Maya loved it, too. I will definitely make this again, but next time, I think I'll make it with barbecued chicken, because they will go better together.

Barley Hoppin' John
Adapted from Eating Well

4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each | Active Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes

* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
* 2 stalks celery, chopped (I used carrots)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
* 1 cup quick-cooking barley (I used brown rice)
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice (I used lime juice)
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed (I used 1 can of black eyed peas, 1 can of pinto beans)


1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook until the vegetables soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add broth, barley, thyme, lemon juice, crushed red pepper and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the barley is done, 15 to 20 minutes (If using brown rice, extend cooking time to 50 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in black-eyed peas. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve hot.


Per serving : 320 Calories; 5 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 58 g Carbohydrates; 12 g Protein; 11 g Fiber; 677 mg Sodium; 529 mg Potassium

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