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Hoppin’ John?

This all started with this:

Thirty-nine Cents?!?

Thirty-nine Cents?!?

Mr. Hippie and I were doing the shopping last week. As usual, we stopped by the bargain bin to see if anything interested us. Usually, there isn’t much but some banged cans or some really old, unpopular merchandise. Imagine my surprise when I found it chock-full of these cans of ORGANIC soybeans for only thirty-nine cents!

Since Gwen is a vegetarian, this could be a major score. But, I’ve never cooked with canned soybeans before so I didn’t want to overreach and buy up the cart. I bought a few cans so that I could experiment with them and make sure we would eat them. A deal is only a good deal if you’ll actually use it!

When I started researching recipes for soybeans, I didn’t come up with much so I decided to just substitute them for other beans in recipes. Hoppin’ John is a traditional New Year’s dish made with black-eyed peas, vegetables and ham and is usually served over rice.  Of course, Gwen won’t eat ham, so I had to modify more than the beans to make this dish family-friendly.

Start by adding about a tablespoon of olive oil to a heavy bottomed-pan or dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped vegetables.

Mis en place

Celery, carrots, peppers and onion chopped and ready to cook.

Simmer the vegetables over medium heat until the onions begin to sweat. Add garlic and stir for a few more minutes.

Sweating the vegetables.

Mmm. Garlic

Chop a jalapeno finely and add it to the vegetable mix. Mine are all red because I picked them from the garden so long ago.

From the garden.

Red Jalapeno

Stir the jalapeno around for a minute and add a quart of chopped, canned tomatoes. Cook the mixture until the tomato juices simmer down and begins to thicken.

Simmah down now!

Simmah down now!

Sprinkle the blend liberally with Rustic Rub and cook for a few more minutes.

Spicy goodness.

Rustic Rub

This is where my cooking always gets tricky. Gwen doesn’t eat meat. Dylan won’t eat beans.  (And you thought Jack Sprat and his Wife had a rough time in the kitchen!) When I make dishes like this, I have to split the base and add ingredients in stages. Unless you have a vegetarian and a picky eater in your house like I do, you can just add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until it’s finished.

I took about 1/2 of the mix out of the big pan and put it into a smaller pan. Then I added 2 cups of water and the beans to the small pan and simmered it until it was cooked through and the liquid reduced.

Finished Veggie John!

Finished Veggie John!

Traditional Hoppin’ John calls for a ham bone to simmer for a while. I didn’t have one and I’ve been on a sausage kick so to the other pan I added a half pound of cooked, bulk sausage and 2 cups of homemade ham stock.

pot two

Simmer the meaty mix down until the sauce is thickened. Once the sauce was thick I scooped a serving out for Dylan and then added half the bean mixture back into the pot.

Finished Hoppin' John

The finished Hoppin’ John ready to scoop onto rice!

In some homes, Hoppin’ John is a New Year’s tradition. I’ve never tried it before, and didn’t make it on New Year’s Day, but after trying this recipe, I might have to make it  a tradition around here!

Oh, and those beans? I went back and bought the 30 cans they had left over.


Hoppin’ John

1 tablespoon-ish olive oil
1 onion, diced finely
2 carrots, rustic-chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1/2 a large or one small bell pepper (I used yellow because that’s what I had)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
a chopped fresh jalapeno, or chili powder to taste
1 quart canned, chopped tomatoes
2-3 Tablespoons rustic rub
1 can soybeans
1 quart stock or water
1/2 pound cooked sausage or ham

Add oil to a hot, large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add onion, celery, pepper and onion and saute until onions “sweat” and become translucent. Add garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes over medium heat stirring constantly. Add the jalapeno or chili powder and stir until blended. Add tomatoes and simmer until thickened. Add rustic rub to taste. Add sausage, beans and stock or water and simmer until thickened.

Serve over rice.

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