PREP TIME 15 mins, COOK TIME 2 hrs
8 thick-cut smoked bacon slices
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
7oz (200g) kale, de-ribbed and roughly chopped
1 jalapeño or other mild green chile, finely chopped
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
pat of butter
1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
1lb (450g) dried black-eyed beans
4 cups long-grain white rice
1 scallion, chopped, to garnish
1 Cook the bacon over medium heat in a Dutch oven, heavy-based soup pot, or flameproof casserole. Stir in the garlic. Add the onion, green bell pepper, celery, and kale. Next, add the jalapeño, white pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, and 1⁄2 tbsp salt, or to taste.
2 Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7–10 minutes until the onions and peppers have softened. If the mixture begins to stick to the pan, add some butter, as needed.
3 Add the vinegar, beans, and 13⁄4 pints (1 liter) of water. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1–2 hours, until the beans are softened but not mushy.
4 About 20 minutes before the end of cooking time, bring 13⁄4 pints (1 liter) of water to a boil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and stir in the rice. Increase the heat to high and bring the water back to a boil. Cover, reduce to low heat, and simmer until the rice has absorbed the water and softened.
5 Spoon the rice into a serving dish and top with the beans. Garnish with the chopped scallions and serve hot.
WHAT’S THE STORY?
Served at New Year in the South, Hoppin’ John is said to bring prosperity for the coming year, with the beans resembling coins and the collard greens representing the color of money. As for the name, some say that children hopped around waiting for it to be served; others that it was once sold on the streets of Charleston, SC, by a lame character known as “Hopping” John.