My next recipe is taken from one of my new cookbooks, and is actually partially prepared in a slow cooker. Most chefs don’t usually use this handy kitchen tool, but for the every day home cook, this contraption is helpful and fun. When celebrity Chef Hugh Acheson released his cookbook The Chef and the Slow Cooker, I promptly put it on my Christmas list, and Santa put it under my tree! My first recipe from this gem is the Hoppin’ John. This is a hearty, delicious dish, enjoyed by me and my family on a cold winter Sunday day. It’s a New Year’s dish, and is supposed to bring luck and wealth in the new year!
What you’ll need:
- 2 cups dried black eyed peas
- 1 pound smoked ham hock
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups cooked white long grain rice
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 large Vidalia onion, diced
- 1 poblano chile, seeded and minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and minced
- pinch of crushed red pepper
Place the black eyed peas in a large bowl and add cold water to cover by 3 inches. Cover the bowl and soak the beans in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
The next day, drain the peas and place them in the slow cooker. Add fresh water to cover by 2 inches. Add the ham hock and the bay leaves and cover. Cook for 6 – 8 hours on low. Then remove and refrigerate the ham hocks. Remove some of the liquid, but leave enough for the black eyed peas to stay moist for now. Set aside.
In the meantime prepare the vegetables and make the white rice. In a large skillet heat 2 tbsp butter and cook the celery and onion for about 5 minutes. Add the poblano pepper and the red pepper and cook for another 15 minutes over low to medium heat. Add dashes of salt and red pepper flakes.
When the ham hock is cool enough to handle, remove the excess fat, skin and bones. Coarsely chop the meat. Add 1 tbsp butter to the rice. Add the peas, vegetable mix and ham to the rice, adding salt to your liking, stir well to combine.
For more info on Hugh Acheson’s cookbook The Chef and the Slow Cooker click here