Hoppin’ John for the New Year
Do you make or eat any lucky foods for the New Year? There are so many food traditions around the world associated with bringing luck to the coming year. In Spain, people eat 12 grapes at midnight.
Each grape represents a month in the new year. The sweet grapes predict good months, and the sour grapes predict less-than-lucky ones.
In Japan, long buckwheat soba noodles are eaten at the New Year. The noodles symbolize life – the longer the noodles are, the longer your life will be. Make sure you eat them carefully so you don’t break any noodles!
And in the American South, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is said to show humility, thus inviting good fortune. It’s also been said that the peas resemble coins, another allusion to a prosperous year ahead.
A dish called Hoppin’ John is one of the most popular ways to eat black eyed peas. A thick bean stew made with smoky bacon, the Cajun holy trinity of vegetables, tomatoes and some spicy seasoning. Put this on to simmer on New Year’s Day, and relax for awhile while it cooks.
Serve with rice, and look forward to prosperity in 2014!
- 6 slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups dried black-eyed peas
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced
- In large saucepot, cook bacon over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp. Stir in garlic, celery, bell pepper and onion. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
- Add bay leaves, tomatoes, broth, black-eyed peas, salt and cajun seasoning. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook 1 hour or until peas are tender. Stir in vinegar.
- Meanwhile, prepare rice as label directs.
- Serve black-eyed pea mixture over rice, garnished with scallions.