Hoppin’ John is a dish that originated in the Low Country (Carolinas) made with black-eyed peas and rice. I usually cook Hoppin’ John in the pressure cooker (As in Chef Cheri’s Hasty Tasty Meals ©2003), but this version is tasty and worth a little extra work. Use a 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven for best results. You will need a 1-quart covered saucepan or rice cooker for the rice, plus a tea kettle for boiling water.
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup long grain brown rice
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas (soaked overnight and rinsed)
- 6 cups water
- 1 can Rotel® tomatoes and green chilies
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 lb. cooked Andouille sausage
- Preheat cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat and melt 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter.
- Add the brown rice and stir. Toast the rice, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
- Spoon the rice into a 1-quart saucepan. Add 2 cups boiling water and 1 tsp. salt. Cover and cook over low heat for twenty-five minutes or until tender. Do not overcook.
- Add 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter to the Dutch oven and sauté the onions over low heat. After ten minutes add the garlic, bay leaf, and the black-eyed peas.
- Stir to combine then add 6 cups water. Cover Dutch oven.
- Time for two hours and cook over low heat. After about 30 minutes, lift the cover and move it to allow steam to escape.
- After the peas are cooked, add 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper. Salting peas earlier may make them tough.
- Add ½ pound cooked Andouille sausage cut into ½ inch slices, along with the can of Rotel®. Remove the bay leaf.
- Remove Dutch oven from heat, stir in rice, and serve. Covered, the hoppin’ John will keep warm for about an hour.
Yield: About 6 meal-size servings or 12 side dish servings.
Once maligned as a bottom feeder, catfish has emerged as a popular entrée. It’s farmed in the U.S.A. and is sustainable, unlike many farmed varieties of fish. Catfish is a bottom feeder, true, but it does well in crowded ponds. If you’re interested in eating sustainable foods but you’re on a budget, you’re in luck. Catfish is affordable, tasty, and sturdy. It stands up well to a variety of cooking methods. We eat it blackened, baked, pan fried, steamed, even deep fried occasionally. (A word of caution: wild caught catfish can taste strong and fishy, so stick with farm raised.)
Catfish is on sale this week, so I bought two small fillets. It’s important to buy only what you’ll use within 24 hours. Fresh fish is best, but frozen catfish is very good. Just be sure it’s raised in the U.S.A. Asian catfish is a different species, and it’s not as tasty. Also, because catfish is a bottom feeder, you want to be extra careful of its source. You’ll find raised-in-USA frozen catfish fillets even at the big box stores. It’s convenient to have fish on hand in your freezer.
Today I’m pan frying it. It’s not difficult but it is tasty! No wonder it’s a Southern favorite.
Pan Fried Buttermilk Catfish
- 2 small catfish fillets (4-6 oz. each)
- 1 Tbsp. safflower oil or peanut oil (or neutral taste oil of your choice)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup cornmeal or a mix of ½ cup cornmeal and ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- Soak catfish in buttermilk for 10 minutes, max.
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Season corn meal with salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
- Dredge each catfish fillet in the corn meal.
- Place each fillet in the skillet and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Turn. If fish sticks to pan, wait at least another minute to turn.
- Cook 4-5 minutes on the second side.
- Plate and serve immediately.
Serves two. Serve with steamed vegetables, cheese grits, and a whole grain roll.
Catfish is versatile, flavorful, and good for you. Give it a try.
This weekend we attended a blueberry festival in a little town in Florida, where we sampled a variety of products made with blueberries. It inspired me to create a blueberry recipe for a smoothie. Although it’s easier in a Vitamix, the food processor or blender will work (any appliance that purees). This one is a healthful breakfast for two, and very delicious. Enjoy!
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or yogurt or soy milk)
- 1 orange, quartered and peeled
- ½ banana, peeled
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- ½ cup frozen peaches
- Add all ingredients in order listed to the Vitamix container.
- Secure lid. Turn on Variable Speed 1, gradually increasing to 10 then High.
- Blend for approximately one minute. Use tamper to move food into blades if necessary. (if mixture is too thick, thin with a Tbsp. of water)
- Turn off Vitamix, remove container, then pour into two glasses.
Yield: 2 servings
Note: Drink through a straw. Blueberries stain!
Process until smooth.