Mardi Gras is always on a Louisianian’s mind, especially when it comes to regional cuisine. We like a little kick in our Mardi Gras festivities, and a lot of kick in our food. Hoppin’ John is a Southern favorite recipe of black eyed peas, ham and the Cajun trinity- chopped onion, bell pepper and celery. Although traditionally served with rice, another southern favorite adds a culinary twist and turn. Grits are about as Southern as you can get,and another house favorite of the Places In The Home gang. This recipe for Hoppin’ John Grits resulted in an unanimous chorus of C’est si bon, cher!
Hoppin’ John Grits
1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups ham hocks
1 cup dry black eyed peas, soaked overnight or quick boiled
3 cups water
1 can chicken broth
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 bay leaves
green onions for garnish, optional
Quick boil for black eyed peas.
Bring 3 cups of water and 1 cup black eyed peas to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Pour off all water.
Heat olive oil in pan. Sear ham on both sides. Before adding to the water, I prefer to saute the Cajun trinity in ½ Tablespoon olive oil and an additional ¼ teaspoon pepper (the kick). This step is totally optional.
Add water, chicken broth, peas, chopped onion, bell pepper and celery. Stir well, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add remaining ingredients. Cook for 1 ½ -2 hours or until peas or tender. If liquid cooks down too much add additional water or broth.
4 cups water
1 cup grits
½ teaspoon salt
6 teaspoons butter or margarine
milk or half and half to taste
Bring water to a brisk boil. Add grits and salt into boiling water. Whisk together, reducing heat to medium-low and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Whisk occasionally during cooking to avoid lumps. Add 1 teaspoon butter or margarine per serving and desired amount of milk or half and half , stirring to blend. Serves 6. Plate grits and top with Hoppin’ John. Green onions may be added as garnish. Laissez les bons temps rouler!