Week 33: January Reflection
Now that we’ve all made it through the business of the holidays, we can happily settle into January and look forward to the days getting longer. January brings resolutions and new beginnings. This week we challenge you to not focus on what you’d like to CHANGE in the New Year, but what you’d like to CONTINUE. It’s a fun little twist to change your perspective just a bit to reflect on the upcoming year. If you haven’t had a chance to read the Moutoux CSA Year End Recap email, please do! It provides insights on the 2019 farm ups and downs, what is coming in 2020, and details to renew your membership for the 2020-2021 season. We hope you CONTINUE to be part of the Moutoux Orchard family and grow with the CSA in the 2020-2021 season!
Although we are a little late on the New Year’s Day meal, this post comes courtesy of CSA pickup barn talk (thank you Sarah Henry!) and will make a wonderful January weekend meal. Hoppin’ John is a traditional Southern dish that makes use of key ingredients that are all said to bring luck in the New Year:
Pork conveys optimism and progress as pigs “root forward” with their snouts
Black-eyed peas represent coins
Served with a side of leafy greens and corn bread to symbolize money and gold, further adding to wealth
There are 1,001 recipes for Hoppin’ John out there. Feel free to experiment and substitute to use what’s on hand from the farm.
Ingredients Phase 1:
1 lb dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over to remove stones
¾ lb smoked pork jowl*, diced into ¼” pieces or strips
1 onion, halved
3 cloves garlic, skin removed but kept whole
3 bay leaves
6 cups water or chicken/pork bone broth
Ingredients Phase 2:
2 TBSP unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
½ tsp fresh thyme
2.5 cups water or chicken/pork bone broth
1 cup Cajun Grain rice (or a good quality long-grain rice such as Carolina Gold, Jasmine, or Basmati)
6 green onions, sliced (optional)
½ bunch parsley, chopped (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Canned sliced banana peppers
For Phase 1 (making the beans and pork): In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine Phase 1 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to 2.5 hours. Drain the black-eyed peas and pork jowl, saving cooking liquid separately. Remove and discard the onion pieces, garlic, and bay leaves.
For Phase 2 (making the rice pilaf): Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Wipe out the pot and return to stove over moderately high heat. Melt the butter until foaming. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Using a wooden spoon, stir occasionally, cooking until onions look translucent (8-12 minutes). Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly until coated with butter and translucent around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with 1 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the thyme and 2.5 cups water/broth and stir. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and transfer to the oven. Bake until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 17 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in the green onions and parsley, if using. Adjust salt and/or pepper to taste. If you should need to adjust the consistency of the pilaf, do so with the reserved cooking liquid from phase 1. The Hoppin’ John should be lushly moist but not soupy.
Serve the black-eyed peas and pork over the rice, garnished with the banana peppers. Pass the hot sauce on the site for extra heat.
Serve with a side of hearty kale or collard greens and cornbread.
Notes: Pork jowl is arguably the most traditional cut of pork to use, coming from the cheek of the pig and is often smoked. A very fatty cut, it will result in a rich Hoppin’ John studded with tender pieces of pork. Using frozen celery, bell pepper and jalapeno work well in this recipe if you preserved them from the summer/fall!
Although we have many awesome blog posts coming your way in 2020, feel free to submit your burning farm questions and topic ideas to Vicki Waranoski at firstname.lastname@example.org. What do you want to see, hear, and learn about in the coming year?