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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hoppin' John with Perfect Brown Rice

I love Hoppin' John.   Black-eyed peas, collard greens, and plenty of peppers and onions - it just doesn't get much better than that.   My husband is from New York and I don't think he ever tried collard greens until he met me; I told him last night that I think it is illegal to have black-eyed peas in the South without collard greens.   If it isn't illegal it should be.  I serve this over brown rice to make it a complete meal.

I've been making brown rice for many, many years.   I don't like white rice and I never really have.   The only time we ever eat it is in restaurants.   White rice is bleached and all the fiber is stripped out of it.   All the wonderful benefits of eating the whole grain are lost with white rice.   It also has a much higher glycemic index than brown rice.  Brown rice takes longer to cook but you should make a lot of it at once and store the extra in the refrigerator for another meal.   Brown rice and quinoa are staples in our diet and we eat them often.

Until a few months ago, I always prepared brown rice according to the package directions; it always turned out a bit too mushy.   I've discovered a new way of preparing it that leaves it fluffy and light and we prefer it this way.  This method also preserves more of the slightly nutty flavor that brown rice has.  This recipe is enough for more than one meal.

Fluffy Brown Rice

2 cups brown rice
10 cups water
salt – to taste

Rinse the rice in a colander under cold running water for a few seconds. Add the water to a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once the water begins to boil, add the rice and stir once.  Reduce the  heat to medium and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 30 minutes, pour the rice into a colander and drain for about 10 seconds over the sink.  Return the rice to the pot, (make sure to remove the pot from the heat). Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and set it aside to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes.  After you have steamed the rice for 10 minutes, uncover rice, fluff with a fork, and season with salt to taste.

Hoppin' John

2 cans of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 jalapeño peppers, minced
1 or 2 bell peppers, chopped
dash of cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
1 bunch of collard greens, roughly chopped
1 cube vegetable bouillon
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Add ½ cup water to a sauté pan with 1 teaspoon toasted oil.   Add onion, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent.  Add beans, cayenne, paprika, and liquid smoke and continue to simmer, adding water as needed, while you cook the collard greens

To make the greens, wash them well and chop them up, set aside then add about 1 teaspoon of TOASTED sesame oil and about a tablespoon of hot sauce with water, bring to a boil and add a little salt.  Throw the greens in and cover, stirring them up occasionally until they are as tender as you want them, usually 5 to 10 minutes.

Toss the collard greens with the black eyed peas and serve over brown rice. 

Optional: Top with chopped tomatoes, onions, or peppers from the garden.

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