Hoppin’ John Salad

Please note: A friend who ate this after it spent a day in the fridge liked it just fine. I could not taste any Italian dressing or thyme. Next time I will dress salad immediately before serving.

My new left hip and I are celebrating today with the traditional Southern dinner thought to bring good luck, health and piles of money in the new year.

Any color sweet peppers make this such a pretty salad.
Any color sweet peppers make this such a pretty salad.

A 3-pound boneless pork tenderloin naps in the slow cooker in a “gravy” of balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire and soy sauces, honey and red pepper flakes. We’re having cole slaw with walnuts, dates, raisins and pomegranate seeds (green cruciferous leaves supposedly guarantee lots of cash in 2015). A frozen apple crisp thaws on the stove top while corn bread bakes in the oven, and we’ll roast some local baby sweetpotatoes.

But what I’m most excited about is the Hoppin’ John salad. So excited, in fact, I had to pack it away in the refrigerator because I was going to keep tasting it (“just to make sure it’s all right”) until it was gone.

Traditionally, Hoppin’ John (and nobody really knows the origin of the name) would be warm black-eyed peas and rice cooked with a ham hock. This is easier (lazier?) because I don’t want to bother with re-heating tonight. Plus, it’s healthier with the crispy vegetables. All the amounts are fluid — make it to suit your taste. And enjoy a Happy New Year!

Hoppin’ John Salad

2 15.5-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1 packet “instant” brown rice, cooked and drained

Celery, sweet pepper and green onions to taste, chopped and briefly sautéed in a smidge of olive oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 teaspoon salt, about 15 grinds black pepper)

Bottled or home-made Italian dressing (I used about 5 tablespoons Wishbone Italian — see note above)

Just mix all the ingredients and chill. Tomorrow I’ll dice some leftover Christmas ham and serve it as an entrée salad. And try not to eat the whole thing




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