joppin’ juan

The South has another classic soul-food dish with black-eyed peas and rice, known as Hoppin’ (or Hopping) John. This is my Southwestern version, inspired by my Texas and New Mexico upbringing, which kicked my palate a notch beyond true southern cooking, just far enough to enjoy the influence of Spanish and Mexican modalities.

  • 10 oz fresh black-eyed peas
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • ¼ cup <butter>
  • 4 oz mild diced fresh chile peppers
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • ¼ tsp dried red crushed pepper
  • ½ tsp <salt>
  • ½ tsp dried leaf oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried leaf thyme
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube

Put the peas in the boiling water and cook until just tender, according to package directions. Drain and reserve cooking liquid. (Canned black-eyed peas can be substituted: just drain and reserve the liquid.)

Cook the onion in the vegetable oil until golden. Add the rice, reserved cooking liquid, and enough water to make 2 cups of liquid. Add the chicken bouillon cube and all other ingredients except the nonfat <butter>. Stir to blend. Bring to a boil, and let simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Remove from the heat and stir in the nonfat <butter>.

Serves 4.