Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, 2012 ended on a positive note overall.  My last two runs were the Cold Winter's Day 5K, completed in 21:01 (chip time), and a sub-freezing 13-miler on New Year's Eve in about 1:41 or 1:42.  After partying away the last few moments of 2012 and then sleeping in this morning, I'm happy to say that Steve and I rang in the New Year with some homemade Hoppin' John for lunch!

If you're from the South, you know that this is what you do on New Year's Day to ensure good luck and prosperity in the coming year.  The beans are the color of coins, and the okra (my preference; collards or other greens are the norm) are the color of money.  I like to think that my healthier, bacon-free version will help keep my medical expenses low...

This recipe is simple and comes together in the time it takes to cook the brown rice.  Since we were just getting back to Columbia from an overnight New Year's shindig out of town, it was nice that everything I needed was already on hand, only a few dishes and utensils were used and no chopping was required.

Hoppin' John:
2 cups water
1 cup brown rice
1 pound thawed frozen black-eyed peas
1 tbsp canola oil
2 cups thawed frozen okra
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup thawed frozen onions
3 packets Swanson's vegetable broth concentrate
1 tbsp chipotle hot sauce (or to taste)
2 tbsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add rice, stir well and cook, covered with a tight-fitting lid, until all liquid is absorbed, about 30-40 minutes.

In a separate pot, cover black-eyed peas with about 1 inch of water.  Bring to a boil and cook on medium-low until peas are very soft, about 20 minutes.  Drain all but 1/2 cup of bean liquid and reserve for another use (I'll probably use it in tonight's cassoulet).

Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat.  Add okra and garlic, stir well and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add onion and oregano and cook another 3-5 minutes.  (If black-eyed peas haven't finished cooking at this point, turn off heat for veggies and turn heat back up to medium-low once peas are cooked.)

Add black-eyed peas plus 1/2 cup cooking liquid to okra mixture and stir well.  Add veggie broth concentrate and hot sauce and stir well for a few minutes, giving the peas a chance to absorb the flavors.  Add cooked rice to the mixture and stir well.  Turn off heat, let rest on the stovetop for about 5 minutes, then stir again and serve.

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