"Recipes for Starting Your New Year"

Hopping John

2 C. dried black-eyed peas
6 C. cold water
1 lb. salt pork
1 C. onion
2 1/2 C. uncooked long-grain white rice

Place black-eyed peas in sieve or colander; run cold water over them until draining water is clear. Transfer peas to 3- to 4-quart casserole, add 6 cups cold water and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, to reduce its salt content, drop salt pork (rind removed, cut into strips about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide) into pot of boiling water and bring water back to boil. Immediately drain strips, pat them dry with paper towels, then place them in 10- to 12-inch skillet.

Fry them, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, turning strips frequently with large spoon and adjusting the heat, if necessary, to prevent pork from burning. When strips are brown and crisp and have rendered all their fat, transfer them with tongs to paper towels to drain; set aside. Add finely chopped onion to fat remaining in skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion is soft but not brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat; set it aside. In a fine sieve, wash rice under cold running water until the draining water is clear. After peas have cooked allotted time, stir in salt pork, onion and rice; bring mixture back to boil. Cover casserole tightly, reduce heat to low and simmer until peas are tender and rice is dry and fluffy, 20-30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve at once.

"Black Eyed Peas... Thought to bring wealth because they look like little coins, in addition to the fact that they swell when cooked."


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