Due to the fact that beans comprise a large part of our stored foods, I am always on the lookout for a good bean recipe. One of our all time favorite beans are Black-eyed Peas, also known as "Cow Peas". They are almost a cross between a pea and a bean in that they are the size of a kidney bean, but they don't require soaking before cooking, which makes them perfect when you want a "bean" dish but are in a hurry.
I recently came across a recipe starring black-eyed peas, that could easily be converted into a "stored foods" recipe so I thought I would give it a try. We love Hoppin' John so much that it has become an almost weekly staple in our household. When reading the recipe, keep in mind that you can substitute canned bacon or ham for the fresh bacon that the recipe calls for. Celery is optional and canned or dehydrated onions and peppers work as well, if not better, than their fresh counterpart. I, of course, changed the recipe to suit our tastes, and the recipe that follows reflects our changes.
1/3 pound bacon, or 1 ham hock plus 2 Tbsp. oil (use canned bacon, ham or sausage)
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced (canned or dehydrated)
1 small green pepper, diced (canned or dehydrated - I like to use red pepper also)
2 garlic cloves, minced (or garlic powder)
1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas (about 2 cups)
1 bay leaf (I use sometimes)
2 teaspoons dried thyme (I never use this)
1 heaping teaspoon Cajun seasoning (I use about 2 tsp. of Cajun's Choice)
Salt to taste
If you are using bacon, cut it into small pieces and cook it slowly in a medium pot. If you are using a ham hock, heat the oil in the pot. Once the bacon is crispy, increase the heat to medium-high and add the celery, onion and peppers and saute until they begin to brown. Add the garlic and spices, stir well. Add black-eyed peas and water to cover the peas by about 1 inch. Cook over medium heat anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook to tenderness (the cooking time depends on the age of the peas, where they were grown and what water you are using). Add more water if necessary. We like our Hoppin' John to be slightly soupy so that we can serve over rice with a little liquid to flavor the rice.
Southern Raised Biscuits
1 C. buttermilk (just add a little lemon juice or vinegar to sweet milk to make buttermilk)
1/2 C. warm water
1 T. dry yeast (or 1 packet)
2 T. sugar
4 C. flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 C. shortening, butter or lard
2 T. butter, melted (optional) for brushing
Heat milk and water, add sugar and yeast. Stir and let sit to "sponge". Mix together dry ingredients and cut in shortening. Add liquids and knead dough until smooth. Roll, cut into biscuits. Place on a greased baking sheet (or two). Brush with melted butter, if desired. Let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes. (Remember - if making this with stored foods, you can use powdered milk to replace the milk and lard or shortening to replace the butter).
|Liquids "sponging" and dry ingredients|
|Liquids just added|
|Cutting out the biscuits|
|Ready for the oven|
|Lovely and golden brown|
|A very different texture than baking powder biscuits|