EASY HOPPING JOHN
6 to 8 servings
We've got to eat our black-eyed peas on New Year's Day to ensure our good luck throughout the coming year. The name of this traditional Southern dish is thought to have been derived from the custom of sending children hopping around the table before the dish was served.
In a medium heavy saucepan, pan-fry bacon and onion over moderate heat until bacon is cooked, but not crisp, and onion is just tender, but not browned. Stir in remaining ingredients, except black-eyed peas. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and cook over low heat about 15 minutes, or until rice is tender and done. Stir in black-eyed peas; adjust seasoning to taste. Cover and heat thoroughly.
Variations: Add ½ to 1 teaspoon minced peeled garlic when sautéing the bacon and onion. Add 1 to 2 chopped firm ripe tomatoes, or about 12 quartered firm ripe grape (very very small) tomatoes, or ½ to 1 cup well drained diced canned tomatoes to the rice mixture with the black-eyed peas.