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Hoppin' John

A few months ago I found foodXervices online and had gone to their warehouse to check out their wares. And it was certainly well worth the trip.

I came back carting bags of beans of almost every colour, pastas of almost every shape, pasta flour, exotic seasonings and many other this-and-that. It is almost like a cook's paradise, except that it is a warehouse and hence not as comfortable and glamorous as Cold Storage or even our local NTUC.

The pricing of their wares are at wholesale rate and they stock so many items that are hard to find in our supermarkets. Try looking for dried pinto beans or pappardelle pasta. They have both! Wholesale rate but retail size packaging. Best of both worlds.

However, a word of caution: Check the packaging of the food stuff for rice weevil. I found some of them in their dried pasta.

With so many beans in my pantry, I am digging for recipes on how to cook them. In my search, this dish of Hoppin' John came up since it was associated with been eaten during new year's day. I saw many versions of it as we head into the new year and it calls for the use of black-eyed peas.

As I have never eaten this dish before, I couldn't really reconcile it with anything that I have eaten before. All I know is that it is a popular bean and rice dish which is good for incorporating leftovers.

When the pot was boiling with so much liquid, I concluded that this Hoppin' John must be a stew.

But by the time I stirred the cooked rice in and set the table for dinner. All that liquid has being absorbed by the rice. So I concluded that it is some sort of rice porridge dish.

In truth, both my conclusions are right and wrong.

Some versions serve this as a stew and the accompanying rice is cooked separately. Look at this version from Michael Ruhlman.

Neither is it a rice porridge. I had used the recipe from the Joy of Cooking ('97 ed.) and only realised I made a fatal mistake halfway through the cooking. The rice is suppose to be uncooked, raw rice. Well, you already know that I can't follow instructions, right?

The only saving grace I had was that the particular leftover rice which I dumped in was slightly undercooked and dry. So it absorbed the stock well but turned slightly mushy. I used leftover honey baked ham from Christmas which works well to flavour the dish.

Yes, I'm still clearing Christmas stuff from my fridge. The last bit of turkey was cleared today in the form of a turkey pot pie. My fridge can breathe easy now. I can almost hear it sigh contentedly. I wonder if it is normal to hear voice of my fridge in my head.

Does the dish look better in green plate?

Or brown?

Or neither??!!


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