Eating Hoppin’ John blackeyed peas is a Southern New Years tradition to bring good luck and, with the addition of greens which represent money, prosperity in the new year. According to Wikipedia these “good luck” traditions date back to the Civil War, when Union troops, especially in areas targeted by General Sherman, typically stripped the countryside of all stored food, crops, and livestock, and destroyed whatever they couldn’t carry away. At that time, Northerners considered “field peas” and field corn suitable only for animal fodder, and didn’t steal or destroy these humble foods.
I figured that posting a Hoppin’ John recipe as my first of 2010 was so very appropriate because: (1) blackeyed peas fit right in with a recession budget, (2) good intentions to eat healthier, and (3) football. How’s that, you might ask? Well, black eyed peas are really beans not peas and beans, whether dried or canned, are very inexpensive. Beans are also packed full of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. (If you’d like more specific information on the health benefits of beans and legumes visit the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.) As far as (3) football, I’ve adapted this economical and nutritious dish to appeal to sports fans and folks who have only a fleeting interest in nutrition by substituting them for black beans in that all-time favorite: NACHOS.
The Bowl games may be over but there’s plenty of football yet to come, so bookmark or print this to serve as one of your munchies during the playoff games and/or the Super Bowl on Sunday, January 31st.
The addition of corn in a black eyed pea salsa recipe, aptly named Recession Caviar from Foodie with Family, works well for those unfamiliar with blackeyed peas. Hoppin’ John is tasty served as a salsa or spooned on top of chips and sprinkled with cheese for nachos.
1 cup blackeyed peas
1 cup frozen corn
2-3 fresh Anaheim green chiles or jalapenos* (or 1 – 4 oz. can)
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. olive oil
1 t. chili or cajun spice
Juice from 1 fresh lime
salt & pepper
Seed and chop the chiles. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Allow flavors to meld for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips as a salsa or spread salsa over chips, sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake at 450 degrees until cheese melts, about 10 minutes. (The salsa is vegan, the nachos have cheese, so are not.)
*use jalapenos if you like it spicy, green chiles for mild