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Vegetarian Hoppin' John For A Prosperous New Year in 2015

Updated 12/31/14. I reworked it today to bring it to New Year's Eve dinner, adding smoked ham and replacing it with a rich chicken broth. I omitted the chili pepper and added 4 grated carrots to the pan. It's rich, earthy, and has a wonderful smoky, salty ham flavor. Happy New Year!

Black-eyed peas , especially in Hoppin' John form , are traditionally served on New Year's Day as a symbol of prosperity and good luck for the coming year. It was originally a Southern dish , but has grown in popularity and can be seen in many recipes across the country this time of year. What I've done here is a very rough collection of some of these recipes.

For my rendition of Hoppin' John, performed to an audience of 18, I started with cans of Black-Eyed Pea Melissa , which can be purchased at most supermarkets this time of year. Traditionally made with cheap cuts of meat, I omitted the meat entirely, making it vegetarian and vegan, and added cayenne pepper and Meyer lemon juice .

They make a great side dish when black-eyed peas are available, so don't put them off just because the new year is almost over.

We wish you health, success and prosperity in 2009.

Vegetarian John jumps
Cristina's original recipe.
For 10 people or more as a side dish.
4 11-ounce jars cooked black-eyed peas
1 large yellow onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
4-5 stalks of celery, remove the tough threads, cut them into cubes.
2 large red bell peppers, seeded, sliced ​​and diced
Juice of 2 Meyer lemons
1 to 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if needed)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (alternatively you can use canola)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (optional, but very healthy)
For each chickpea dip, pour 2 1/2 cups water into a large pot. I prepared the 4 baths in 10 glasses of unsalted water.
Bring the water to a boil, then add the black peas and stir gently. Bring the water to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook the peas for about 10 minutes or until tender.
Drain the peas well and return them to the pan.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet (I always use cast iron) over medium-high heat.
Add the chopped onion and celery and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and chilli and sauté until soft. Don't overcook.
Add the fried vegetables to the hot peas and mix gently.
Add the Meyer lemon juice and cayenne pepper and mix.
Place the mixture over medium-low heat and add the water or broth a little at a time until it reaches a consistency you can live with. The peas will absorb most or all of the liquid.
Adjust seasoning to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Serve on the side with rice and steamed vegetables for a true Southern meal.

Chef's Notes:
If you only want to cook 1 11-ounce pot of peas, add about a quarter more to the roast. However, the ratio of vegetables to peas can be any.
If you have leftovers, the next day you can blend them in a blender for a fantastic spread on crackers or crusty bread.
I only grow cilantro in my garden (still do!) and even though I share it with my cilantro-loving chickens, I had enough to use here. I'm lucky.
One more thing I forgot to add. Hoppin John can be steamed much more by adding more broth. You can serve it with hot rice for a more traditional meal. Be sure to adjust seasonings accordingly.

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