The Delta Queen, a Steamboat, Makes its Way up the Mississippi River
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Ira Block
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La Belle Cuisine - More Side Dish Recipes

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Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create well...
is an act of ingenuity, and faith."


Craig Claiborne's Black-Eyed Peas




"Now hopping john was F. Jasmine's very favorite food. She had always warned them to wave a plate of rice and peas before her nose when she was in her coffin,
to make certain there was no mistake; for if a breath of life was left in her, she
would sit up and eat, but if she smelled the hopping john, and did not stir, then
they could just nail down the coffin and be certain she was truly dead."

~ Carson McCullers, in “Member of the Wedding”

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Benecke, William
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Mississippi River, Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA
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Tony Waltham
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“…I have learned that nothing can equal the universal appeal
of the food of one’s childhood and early youth.”

Craig Claiborne

Recipe source:

Craig Claiborne's
Southern Cooking

by Craig Claiborne, 1987, Times Books/
2007 Univ. of Georgia Press


New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Peas

“Black-eye or black-eyed peas seem to figure ubiquitously on Southern
tables, and Yankee visitors seem to look at them askance. They are not
necessarily country fare, as many people claim them to be. They appear
on the tables of rich and poor, the educated and uneducated alike, and
are eaten with equal enthusiasm…”

Yield: 16 or more servings

2 pounds dried black-eyed peas
1/2 pound slab of lean bacon, cut into
1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 sweet green or red pepper, finely
chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
Salt to taste, if desired
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 dried hot red peppers, crumbled
6 to 7 cups water, approximately

1. Rinse the peas and drain.
2. Put the bacon in a heavy kettle and cook, stirring, until rendered of fat
and browned. Add the chopped sweet pepper, onion, and celery and
cook, stirring, until wilted.
3. Add the peas, vinegar, stock, salt, pepper, and dried hot peppers. Bring
to the boil. Cover closely and let simmer about 1 hour.
4. Add 6 cups water and return to the boil. Let simmer about 1 hour, stir-
ring occasionally from the bottom. Check the peas and, if necessary,
add more water. Continue cooking 30 minutes. The total cooking time
is 2 1/2 hours or longer.


Hoppin’ John

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

“… [Black-eyed peas] are a basis of the dish known as Hoppin’ John, the origin
of which name no one seems to be able to explain. The dish is made either with
black-eyed peas or cow peas and rice, and it is certainly one of the most traditional
of Southern dishes. It is served in many Southern homes on New Year’s Day [often
accompanied by cabbage!] to bring all those assembled good luck throughout the
year. I am amused to think that in South Carolina there is a dish made of okra
and rice called Limping Susan. [This] recipe for Hoppin’ John is a modernized
version demonstrated for me by Bill Neal, a fine young North Carolina chef.”

1/8 pound streaky bacon [often called streak o’lean]
or salt pork, cut into small cubes, (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
10 ounces fresh or frozen black-eyed peas
1 whole garlic clove
2 3/4 cups water [or stock], approximately
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste, if desired
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 cup rice
2 tablespoons butter

1 ripe tomato (about 1/4 pound), cored
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 cup finely chopped scallions, including green part

1. Put the bacon or salt pork in a saucepan and cook, stirring often, until all the cubes are crisp. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
2. Add the peas, garlic, about 1 1/4 cups water, or to barely cover, thyme,
bay leaf, salt, and red pepper flakes. Bring to the boil and let simmer, uncovered, 30 to 40 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Remove
from heat.
3. Put the rice in a saucepan and add 1 1/2 cups water and salt to taste.
Bring to the boil and let simmer 17 minutes. Stir in the butter.
4. Cut the unpeeled tomato into 1/4-inch cubes; there should be about
1 cup.
5. Arrange the hot rice in the center of a platter. Spoon the hot pea mix-
ture, including liquid, over the rice. Scatter the cheese over the peas.
Place tomato cubes around the rice. Scatter the scallions over the
tomatoes. Serve immediately.


Black-Eyed Peas Vinaigrette

Yield: 12 or more servings

“In days of yore, black-eyed peas were considered a basic ingredient in
almost all Southern households, something taken for granted, a food to
be cooked with fatback or hog jowls and cooked for hours, with collard
and turnip greens simmering in separate pots. I had reached a
certain adulthood when I discovered that they could be delectable when
dressed with a vinaigrette sauce (always referred to in my childhood as
 French dressing). Here is my version of a great Southern ingredient
adapted à la Française.”

1 pound dried black-eyed peas
8 cups water
Salt to taste, if desired
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 onion stuck with 2 cloves
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 sprigs parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2/3 cup olive, peanut, or vegetable oil

1. Rinse and pick over the peas and place in a kettle. Add the water,
salt, pepper, and onion stuck with cloves. Tie the garlic clove, bay
leaf, thyme, and parsley springs in a cheesecloth bag, and add it.
Bring to the boil and simmer until the peas are tender, about 1
hour and 15 minutes. Set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Remove the onion and the cheesecloth bag. Drain the peas.
3. Put the peas in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped onion, shallots,
minced garlic, chopped parsley, vinegar and oil. Add salt and
pepper to taste. Toss to blend well. Serve lukewarm or at
room temperature.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Collard Greens with Cornmeal Dumplings
Southern-Style Greens with Variations
Cabbage Braised with Riesling and Bacon
Hoppin' John Jambalaya
Warm Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon
and Red Onion Vinaigrette

Warm Hoppin' John and Brown Rice Salad

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