Thursday, December 30, 2010

Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya - Deep South Hoppin' John

Our Deep South version of the lowcountry favorite, Hoppin' John, this Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya contains bacon, ham, spicy smoked sausage, black-eyed peas and rice.
Our Deep South version of the lowcountry favorite, Hoppin' John, this Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya contains bacon, ham, spicy smoked sausage, black-eyed peas and rice.

Deep South Hoppin' John

Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya is just the way we down here in The Deep South look at what most other southerners call Hoppin' John, but let me tell you. I have seen lots of folks, from magazines to big bloggers, being scolded by Hoppin' John purists all around the internet here lately for incorrectly referring to a dish of black-eyed peas as Hoppin' John. Yes, and that includes not so big, little ole me and those of the rest of you who also like eating black-eyed peas spooned over rice.

{Southern Hissy fit warning} People get all up in arms about impressing upon others what they think is or is not right or authentic when it comes to food. I have gotten more than one tongue lashing right here on my site from some anonymous persons who insisted on imposing their opinions about how I have made something "wrong" in their eyes.

Now, don't get me wrong... I have a lot of respect for regional dishes - and that is why I don't use the word "authentic" when I make a dish that is endeared to a certain area of the country from whence I am not. I understand the passion though. Even I can get a little stuffy about certain things - like po'boys being all fancied up with artisan breads and sauces, when they are intended to be a simple, working man (or woman's) basic sandwich, Mississippi Comeback Sauce that has a history that deserves more respect than to be referred to as mixed up mayo and ketchup with a bunch of pepper, dirty rice that has no "dirty" to it, or jambalaya that is soupy and gummy and mushy - which it should not be and folks who live in landlocked areas talking about seafood.

But... I don't go into somebody else's kitchen (or virtual website kitchen) and criticize them for how they choose to make something. That's just downright rude. By the way, I pretty much feel that same way when y'all scholarly types try to come here and correct my grammar and spelling. This ain't an English grammar page y'all - just me writin' the same way I talk.

Frankly, I just think folks need to learn to relax, enjoy each other's company and quit the bickering. {hissy fit done pitched}

Anyway... while I think that what really defines a dish as Hoppin' John as simply one that includes black-eyed peas, some kind of pork - generally in the form of sausage and ham - and rice, many say if that rice isn't cooked in with the black-eyed peas, it's not Hoppin' John.

Black eyed peas have been around for a long time, of course, and well before we adopted them and made them a New Year's tradition in The South, and there are many versions of how the name "Hopping John" came to be. I like the one that says it was named by Confederate soldiers who observed the way the peas popped up and down in the kettle while they were boiling. "Hehehe, now, lookie thar, how them thar peas er jus' a hoppin' John."  Yeah. I can totally see that!

So, while I prefer my black-eye peas served over the rice, in the same manner as our beloved red beans and rice, or butter beans, we also do cook them Hoppin' John style, only, in this part of The Deep South, we generally call that jambalaya. So here it is, our Deep South version of the lowcountry favorite, Hoppin' John, or what we call Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya.  While my preference for the new year is black-eyed peas spooned over steaming hot rice, I gotta say... this jambalaya is pretty darned good.

It's not at all difficult to make either. Grab your cast iron Dutch oven - those cook more evenly for this dish - and we'll start with some bacon. That's a pretty good start if ya ask me. Then we'll sweat down The Trinity.

Once the veggies are sauteed down nicely, we'll add in, well... even more pork! Here I used Conecuh, an Alabama smoked sausage, and some diced baked ham.  Yes, we love our Louisiana sausage, but Alabama makes some pretty darned good sausage too. We are so lucky to live here slap dab between the both of them, I swear. After that cooks down a few minutes, stir in the chicken broth and 2 cans of undrained black-eyed peas, and let it come up to a boil.

Add in the raw rice, jalapeno, green onion and seasonings, return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. I mostly prefer doing my jambalayas in the oven, but this one works pretty good on the top of the stove since we're just using sausage and canned peas. Pull it off the heat and set it aside covered, for about 10 minutes undisturbed.

As with all jambalaya recipes, this makes a nice sized pot and will probably feed somewhere around 8 people as a main dish, or quite a few more as an addition on a party buffet - like for that New Year's party.

My last two recipe posts ran close together, so in case ya missed it, be sure to pop over and check out my Greens and Black-eyed Pea Soup that I posted late yesterday. It's a big bowl of warmth I'm telling ya, and would also be a great addition to your New Year's menu.

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Recipe: Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya - Deep South Hoppin' John

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 cups of diced ham
  • 1/2 pound of andouille or other smoked sausage, sliced
  • 3 cups of chicken broth or stock
  • 2 cans black-eyed peas, undrained
  • 2 cups of uncooked, long grain rice
  • 1/4 cup of chopped, sliced pickled jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup of sliced green onion
  • 2 pinches of kosher salt, or to taste
  • 10 turns of the pepper grinder, or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama) or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Chow Chow for garnish, optional
  • Hot sauce, for the table

Using kitchen shears, cut the bacon into the bottom of a cast iron Dutch oven and saute until slightly browned. Add the onion, green bell pepper and celery; saute for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the ham and sausage and cook another 3 minutes. Add the broth and black-eyed peas; bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, jalapenos and green onion. Season with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Add the bay leaf and return to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit covered for another 10 minutes before serving. Fluff with a fork.

Serve with Chow Chow and pass hot sauce at the table, if desired.

Red Beans and Rice Jambalaya: Substitute two cans of light kidney beans, drained and rinsed, for the blackeyed peas.


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©Deep South Dish
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Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

Greens and Black-eyed Peas Soup
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Posted by on December 30, 2010
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