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HomeNewsArchivesFOR GOOD LUCK, HAVE SOME HEALTHFUL HOPPIN' JOHN

FOR GOOD LUCK, HAVE SOME HEALTHFUL HOPPIN' JOHN

Jan. 6, 2002 – Eating the traditional African-American dish of Hoppin' John — black-eyed peas and seasoned rice — is thought to provide good luck for the New Year.
There are many theories as to how the dish Hoppin' John received its name. One is that the title reflects the custom of inviting guests to join the dinner table: "Hop in, John." Another says that it comes from an old New Year's Day ritual where the children of the house hopped once around the table before eating the dish. Yet another holds that it's the name of the chef who invented the dish.
Dried peas are an integral ingredient in Hoppin' John. Black-eyed peas are small and beige, with a black circular "eye" at their inner curve. Although canned and frozen black-eyed peas are available today, many people prefer to cook the dried peas themselves.
To cook the perfect peas: Don't salt the cooking liquid before the peas are soft, or they'll toughen. Keep the cook pot covered for the same reason. And simmer, rather than boil, the cooking liquid so the peas don't break apart. To reduce the risk of intestinal gas, or flatulence, from eating the peas, change the liquid at least twice during the soaking process and once after the peas have simmered for about 30 minutes.
Check for doneness by taste-testing the peas. On your tongue, they should feel smooth, yet firm and not mushy. Another test is to gently squeeze a bean between your thumb and forefinger. If the core is hard, the peas need to cook some more.
Black-eyed peas, like other dried beans and peas, are an excellent source of protein, iron and dietary fiber, while they contain virtually no fat, cholesterol or sodium.
So, for good luck and good health in the New Year, eat your peas regularly — in soups, salads and the healthful version of Hoppin' John that follows.
Healthful Hoppin' John
1 1/4 cup black-eyed peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice, uncooked
1-teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Favorite local hot pepper sauce, to taste
1 cup lean diced ham
Rinse peas and place in a large saucepan along with salt and water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 minutes. In a skillet, sauté onion, garlic and green pepper in olive oil. Add sautéed mixture to peas. Stir in rice, cumin, thyme and, if desired, hot sauce. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in ham and cook for another 10 minutes, or until rice is tender.
Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 320 calories, 4 gms fat (11 percent fat calories), 6 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium.

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Jan. 6, 2002 - Eating the traditional African-American dish of Hoppin' John -- black-eyed peas and seasoned rice -- is thought to provide good luck for the New Year.
There are many theories as to how the dish Hoppin' John received its name. One is that the title reflects the custom of inviting guests to join the dinner table: "Hop in, John." Another says that it comes from an old New Year's Day ritual where the children of the house hopped once around the table before eating the dish. Yet another holds that it's the name of the chef who invented the dish.
Dried peas are an integral ingredient in Hoppin' John. Black-eyed peas are small and beige, with a black circular "eye" at their inner curve. Although canned and frozen black-eyed peas are available today, many people prefer to cook the dried peas themselves.
To cook the perfect peas: Don't salt the cooking liquid before the peas are soft, or they'll toughen. Keep the cook pot covered for the same reason. And simmer, rather than boil, the cooking liquid so the peas don't break apart. To reduce the risk of intestinal gas, or flatulence, from eating the peas, change the liquid at least twice during the soaking process and once after the peas have simmered for about 30 minutes.
Check for doneness by taste-testing the peas. On your tongue, they should feel smooth, yet firm and not mushy. Another test is to gently squeeze a bean between your thumb and forefinger. If the core is hard, the peas need to cook some more.
Black-eyed peas, like other dried beans and peas, are an excellent source of protein, iron and dietary fiber, while they contain virtually no fat, cholesterol or sodium.
So, for good luck and good health in the New Year, eat your peas regularly -- in soups, salads and the healthful version of Hoppin' John that follows.
Healthful Hoppin' John
1 1/4 cup black-eyed peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice, uncooked
1-teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Favorite local hot pepper sauce, to taste
1 cup lean diced ham
Rinse peas and place in a large saucepan along with salt and water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 minutes. In a skillet, sauté onion, garlic and green pepper in olive oil. Add sautéed mixture to peas. Stir in rice, cumin, thyme and, if desired, hot sauce. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in ham and cook for another 10 minutes, or until rice is tender.
Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 320 calories, 4 gms fat (11 percent fat calories), 6 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium.