VEGETARIAN HOPPIN' JOHNS

 

Hoppin’ Johns are a southern classic featuring black eyed peas, and often eaten on New Year’s Day to bring good luck for the coming year (although I eat it all winter long!).  My mother always cooked it with a ham hock, being the Georgia peach that she was.  Below is my vegetarian version of her dish, using a little bit of liquid smoke to give it that punch, but without the ham!

PREP TIME:  15 min

 

STOVE TIME:  Wonderbag Method 25 min

 

SERVES:  6 as a main course

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE HOPPIN' JOHNS:

  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

  • 2 yellow onions, diced

  • 2 green bell peppers, deseeded and chopped

  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (or Cajun seasoning)

  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme

  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano

  • 5 cups chopped kale (70 g, about 2½ oz)

  • 2- 14 oz (400 g) cans black eyed peas

  • 5 oz (150 g) fresh cherry tomatoes, halved (roughly 16 tomatoes)

  • 1- 4 oz (110 g) can green mild chilies*

  • 1 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp liquid smoke

  • 2 cups (480 ml) water or vegetable stock

  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

OPTIONAL GARNISH:

  • Diced green onions or scallions

  • Tobacco or hot sauce

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

CONVENTIONAL/STOVE METHOD

1)  Heat a 2½ quart (3 litre) pot on medium-high.  Add olive oil and onions, and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft and golden.

 

2)  Add the carrot and bell pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.

 

3)  Add the garlic, cayenne pepper, thyme and oregano and cook for 30 seconds to activate the flavors.

 

4)  Add the kale, peas, tomatoes, chilies, salt, and liquid smoke, and mix well.

 

5)  Pour in the water, and bring to a boil

 

6)  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for at least 1 hour, more if you have the time to let the flavours develop.  Stir occasionally.

WONDERBAG METHOD

1)  Heat a 2½ quart (3 litre) pot on medium-high.  Add olive oil and onions, and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft and golden.

 

2)  Add the carrot and bell pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.

 

3)  Add the garlic, cayenne pepper, thyme and oregano and cook for 30 seconds to activate the flavors.

 

4)  Add the kale, peas, tomatoes, chilies, salt, and liquid smoke, and mix well.

 

5)  Pour in the water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes

 

6)  Seal your lidded pot in the Wonderbag and leave to cook for a minimum of 4 hour (best to leave it 6-7 hours, or all day, the flavours intensify the longer you leave it).

SERVE

Salt and pepper to taste, garnish with diced green onions and set some tabasco on the table for fearless!

 

This dish makes a great main course 'stew' or as tasty side as well.  Serve over brown rice, or with some crusty bread on the side to mop up all the yummy juices!

Recipe & Photo Credit:  Cathy Menees

COOK'S NOTES

INGREDIENTS

*Mild green chilies can be difficult to find in Europe, so you can substitute that ingredient with 50 g pickeled green peppers or peperoncinis, diced.

 

SERVING

This dish also makes a great filler for a healthy wrap made with fresh tomatoes, corriander and a drizzle of plain yogurt...just in case you're looking for leftover ideas!

 

 

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