If there’s one thing that will make the most cooking-averse Southerner drag out a Dutch oven, it’s the promise of luck and money. Superstition has it that making Hoppin’ John with greens on New Year’s Day will bring both, and Nancie McDermott includes a recipe for each in her latest cookbook, Southern Soups & Stews.
The wonderful thing about Nancie’s Hoppin’ John is that, like
so many variations, it’s simple: If you can fry bacon and boil water, you’re set. But don’t let its ease fool you – the result will be a smoky, slightly salty jumble of black-eyed peas and rice. Its accompaniment, “Grandma Harris’s Fantastic Turnip, Mustard and Collard Greens,” starts with four pounds of fresh greens – enough to temporarily turn your kitchen into a small cruciferous forest. After a season’s worth of fudge, just the sight of all those dark green leaves feels curative.
And if you’ve missed the January 1 window, don’t worry too much. The universe probably won’t notice – what’s a week or two in the span of cosmic time, anyway? – and a warm, satisfying bowl of rice and beans is guaranteed to make a day better, no matter what. So reach way back into the cabinet if you have to. It’s time to put a pot on!