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Community Cookbook 

Southerners may make resolutions for the New Year, but they know success (or lack of it) depends more on what is eaten on Jan. 1 than on all the good intentions in the world. More black-eyed peas and collards are consumed on that day than any other time of the year--part of an antique gastronomic insurance policy. Collards are for a steady supply of folding green in the coming year; black-eyed peas for plenty of pocket change. Hoppin' John is a sort of jambalaya with a light touch. Do not stew the different elements into a homogenous mush. Each pea, grain of rice, chunk of tomato, and piece of scallion should retain its individual identity, flavor and texture. --Bill NealIngredients

2 cups cooked

black-eyed peas

2 cups cooked rice

1 cup chopped

fresh tomato

1/2 cup finely

chopped scallions

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)

Recommended equipment

A 12-inch cast-iron skillet or enameled cast-iron saute pan with cover.

Heat the peas and rice separately if cold. (Add 3 tablespoons water to cold rice, cover, and steam briefly.) Combine lightly in the skillet or saute pan, sprinkle the chopped tomato and scallions over all, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and heat through. Add grated Cheddar cheese when serving, if desired.

Reprinted from Bill Neal's Southern Cooking, by Bill Neal, with the permission of UNC Press.

  • Hoppin' John, by Bill Neal

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