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Seductions of Rice: Hoppin' John, Rice and Peas: The North American Way

..for discussion..

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  1. Collard Greens, pg 392

    It feels funny to write this "recipe" up, but in truth my previous forays with collard greens have always had their ups & downs, probably 'cause I never bothered to look at a recipe.

    Anyway, over Memorial Day we were having a crowd over for BBQ and collards made their way onto the menu, since company was involved it seemed prudent to take a look at some directions. Coincidentally spotted this recipe as I was leafing through the book after picking it up at the library. It isn't much different from others I looked at, 1/2lb pork, ham, or bacon (I used a good cured ham), 8 cups water, boil for 30 minutes to make a broth, add 4 bunches cleaned and cut collards, cook until tender, or if prefered cook until stock is reduced (that's what I did).

    Best collards I ever made (faint praise, now that I think about it). They disappeared quite nicely at the BBQ (a much better gauge).

    6 Replies
    1. re: qianning

      I've had spinach and kale, but never collards. I'm glad you took the time to post this, I'd probably have passed right by.

      1. re: qianning

        Did you serve it with hot sauce? I always thought that was part of the traditional presentation of collards. Maybe I'm mistaken on that but just wondering if the SOR authors commented on that or made any recommendations or provided a recipes.


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          they do have an accompanying recipe for vinegared chili sauce, i passed on it 'cause this being a new england crowd w/ lots of kids around, i didn't think it would be a hit, and mostly i was suffering pre-party time/energy constraints.

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            For me, "traditional" is and was a little bottle (can't remember the brand) of small yellow peppers with vinegar over them. When the liquid is gone, pour more (white) vinegar over. But I also love hot sauces over them also.

            1. re: c oliver

              Cajun Chef or Trappey's probably. We always have the sauce over our greens. Had a bunch of fresh mixed peppers last year and made a huge batch for myself and family. All this makes me want greens and cornbread!

              1. re: bayoucook

                Trappey's. Couldn't for the life of me remember the brand.

        2. Oaxacan Rice Pudding ... page 416

          This is extra nice, really. I know now to use medium grain rice in pudding, it's smoother, the whole dish is creamier. Cinnamon stick is cooked with the rice, also ginger (just enough) and lime zest. No vanilla! I really didn't think *that* would work, but it did. Milk. eggs, sugar, raisins of course. It's simmered, then baked, an extra step but it came out so well I'll keep doing it that way.

          On the opposite page is "Memories of Childhood Rice Pudding" -- I'll bet that's just right too, but today I just made this one.

          3 Replies
            1. re: blue room

              Looks great! I am always up for rice pudding, and am quite happy with all the selections in the book.

              I love your spoon!

              1. re: blue room

                It's terribly hot here today, but your pudding looks so delicious that I would gladly bear the heat and eat your pudding if it were in front of me right now.

              2. Mexican Red Rice ... page 412
                This is red from tomato, the rice used is actually white. When finished, the grains will be separate, not sticky or wet. Tomatoes, white onions, garlic are used. The vegetables are grilled (I did this the best I could under the broiler--turn with tongs to char them nicely.) The book implies that blackened *all over* is preferable, but I went about halfway. Then puree the vegetables, add water if needed to ensure you'll have enough liquid for the rice.
                The rice is "toasted" in oil until golden (I've done this before for other dishes--it really makes a nice rice difference!) Ah, now simmer the rice in stock/broth/water and the enhanced-by-char puree until done. The rice, again, will be a dry fluffy texture (still nice and moist inside, don't worry). Garnish with corn or carrot. Pretty mild, no peppers or chiles in this, comfort food for sure.

                1 Reply
                1. re: blue room

                  Made this last night to have with staff meal chicken & salsa verde (from ENYTC), and it was a good match. I used my usual genmai/haiga mix for the rice, and the texture was just fine with no additional liquid.

                  Exactly as blue room says, comfort food for sure.

                2. Hoppin' John with a Side of Peas, Pg. 390

                  Well we finally found our way out of China and headed back to the South Carolina coast. This frankly southern dish was our Saturday night dinner, the peas being Black-eyed peas y'all. It's usually served on New Year's Day but since the weather here has been less than ideal late spring - nearly summer it was much appreciated and comforting.

                  I used 2 smallish smoked ham hocks less than a pound total which I cooked with a chopped Vidlia onion, 2 chopped jalapeños, and 5 cups of water for 1 hour. One of the very few times I didn't cook beans from scratch I used a 15. 5 oz tin of black-eyed peas Thus I didn't totally adhere to the recipe but added the peas, half the tin, at the stage where the rice is cooked along with one of the ham hocks, after the hocks have finished cooking. The long grain rice I used was Carolina, which is fast becoming a favorite because of its nice dry texture.

                  To serve: Slice the meat off the ham hocks. Heat up the remaining peas. Place the bean & rice combination in a serving bowl, put the remaining peas in a bowl and strew the sliced ham over the peas.

                  Delicious. Not too salty, I had omitted the optional salt. We liked the black-eyed peas.. nutty/sweetish. It's an easy recipe but you do have to make time for cooking the beans and ham hocks before making the rice then combining everything. I suppose I could have made the almost obligatory collard greens but really this was enough for us. (I really Do like the collard recipe in "Bon Appetit Y'All", though...)

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    There's too much opposition to beans in my home for me to make this, so I'm glad you let me read about it. And I'm glad to know the canned black-eyed peas are acceptable, even tasty.

                    Maybe an abbreviated version someday, just for me.

                    1. re: blue room

                      I've been led to understand that frozen black-eyed peas are better than canned, texture-wise, though I don't think I've had canned, that I was aware of, at any rate, so I can't personally compare.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        I'm not sure I've ever seen frozen BEPs. I'll have to keep an eye out. Being a born and bred (or I guess that should be bred and born) Southerner, I adore BEPs and have been known (rarely) to opt for canned when the craving hits me.

                        This book is growing on me. But I have too many that I've cooked not at all from or only one dish. Get thee behind me, Satan.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          As I said, I've never had canned, but frozen have a good texture, firm. I'm guessing they're actually cooked and frozen from fresh peas, not dried, as I think the small limas are and given the way frozen vegetables are processed in general, though that is only a guess. I've seen them from some of the big frozen vegetable brands, though I imagine whereabouts they're stocked depends on demand.

                    2. re: Gio

                      I love this dish Gio so it's nice to know that this version was a hit. Thanks for the terrific review!

                      1. re: Gio

                        I also made this recipe, as usual not much to it.
                        - used 3/4 lb of bacon instead of the ham hock, rendered most of the fat off and saved it.
                        - used four New Mexico fresh chiles, minced; the next time I will try dried chipotle chiles
                        - used basmati rice, soaked during pea cooking cycle then drained
                        - used dried black eyed peas soaked overnight
                        - First, sweated the minced onion until soft, then added half of the chile, minced bacon, soaked and drained peas, enough water to cover 1/2 inch
                        - cooked for ~ one hour until just tender, then added the rice, 1/2 inch water and the rest of the chile and bacon.
                        - final cooking lasted ~ 20 minutes, be sure that there is just enough water so that nothing sticks to the bottom.
                        Serves a Ton of folks :-). Good with greens but I went for scrambled eggs ...
                        Besides trying the chipotle, the next time I will use less rice.

                      2. Louisiana Pecan and Popcorn Rice ... page 389

                        This is just a page giving descriptions and cooking instructions for these (new to me) kinds of rice. I ordered both online, and made a portion of each. The pecan rice is light yellow, the popcorn rice whiter. (And they came in cute cloth sacks!) The pecan has a "nutty" aroma as it cooks, but not a *strongly specific* pecan smell IMO. It came out nicely firm, large separate grains. Would be good anywhere you'd use long grain white, I'd say. Soup, gumbo.

                        The popcorn rice is a riot -- I could smell POPCORN from 3 rooms away! When done, it seemed very slightly softer/moister than the pecan. The popcorn smell is stronger as a smell than a taste, but what fun to cook!

                        Brined pork chops -- Thomas Keller's brine found here


                        to go with the rice.

                        1. Memories of Childhood Rice Pudding, p. 417

                          The headnote says this a close approximation of the rice pudding one of the authors' mothers made. I chose this recipe among those in the book because it sounded simple and comforting, and the impetus was to give some to someone who has recently had oral surgery and would be spending a few days on a vicodin-and-pudding diet.

                          Rice and milk are simmered for 35 minutes, then sugar and salt are added, and it goes in the oven for 30 minutes. At this point it's stirred and vanilla and a pinch of nutmeg (if you choose, which I did) are added; I also added the handful of dried tart cherries suggested in a note at the end. It's baked for 45 more minutes, the oven is turned off and it sits there for 15 minutes. I used jasmine rice, one of the suggested kinds, and a combination of 2% milk and some evaporated milk left from something else.

                          A golden skin forms on the top as it bakes (headnote says this was fought over by the children), and the pudding is more "solid" than very loose and creamy, at least once cooled to room temp. (I didn't try it warm) but soft and very tender - the patient has moved from smoothest foods to very soft foods, and said it was perfect for her needs. We both enjoyed the flavor and the little bursts of contrast from the tart cherries.

                          1. Jamaican Rice and Peas – p. 410

                            Are you asking yourself the same thing I was. . . why is this Jamaican dish in the North American section of this book? I’m really not sure but as folks who happen to love the dish, I was keen to try out a new recipe.

                            Prep for the dish is fairly straightforward. The authors give you a choice of using dry or canned beans. I opted for canned so prep is also fairly quick. If you intend to use dried beans plan to soak them overnight then cook until tender the following day for approx 2 hours. Also, to achieve a more traditional Jamaican flavour I’d suggest you add some whole allspice (pimenton as it’s called in Jamaica) and a couple of garlic cloves to your cooking water.

                            To prep the dish, oil or bacon drippings are heated in a pan before adding garlic and onion. Chopped, red bell pepper is listed as an optional ingredient. In Jamaica, a green pepper is a necessity. I used the red and added it along w a whole Scotch bonnet pepper (also optional here but not so in Jamaica....a must have for sure) along w the onion as opposed to after adding the coconut milk, which is how the authors intend the prep to go. Once the onion is translucent, coconut milk, optional chopped tomato (which I used but it isn’t a traditional ingredient) and some thyme sprigs are stirred in and brought to a boil. The rice and, enough water to cover the rice by approx ¾” are added along w S&P. The mixture is brought to a boil then covered and left to simmer for 20 mins. Once removed from the stove the covered pot is left to sit for 10 additional minutes prior to removing the thyme and the whole Scotch Bonnet pepper and serving.

                            We thought this produced a decent, not entirely traditional version of rice and peas however we do prefer the tastier, more traditional version which also would typically be made w chicken stock instead of water. We did incorporate green onions (escallion in Jamaica) which are also a must in Jamaica.

                            We served the rice and peas alongside a grilled pork tenderloin that had marinated all day in a Caribbean wet seasoning (kind of a cross between Jamaican Jerk seasoning and, Bajan Seasoning).

                            1. Hoppin john is delicious with a pound of browned Jimmy Dean sausage added if you don't have hocks on hand. Any leftovers can be combined with the leftover cornbread crumbs and an egg and made into burgers, which can be grilled and served over the leftover greens. YUMMY! A two-fer~