Friday, December 28, 2012

Curried Hoppin' John with Pork and Bacon


 Hoppin' John is a Southern United States rice and beans dish.   The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins so it is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck.  I also added pork to this dish because pork is considered a symbol of wealth, prosperity and progress.  Then I decided to add bacon in the dish... well... because it's bacon and my family loves bacon.  The bacon also added a crunchy texture and great flavor punch.  This is a one pot dish that is perfect for New Years or any day of the year if you are looking for a satisfying meal.

5 cups of cooked rice (brown or white)
2 (15oz) cans of black eyed peas rinsed
1lb of lean pork diced small
6-8 slices of bacon diced
15-20 curry leaves
1 small stick of cinnamon

1 tsp of cumin seeds
1tsp of black mustard seeds
1/3 tsp of ground turmeric
2 tsp of curry powder (I used McCormick brand)
2 cloves of garlic grated
1 inch of ginger grated
1 medium onion chopped
2 celery stalks diced small
1 bunch of scallions sliced
2-3 green chilies
1 tsp of red chili flakes (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (or chicken bullion and water)
salt and pepper to taste

Note:  Before cooking the "Hoppin' John Curry make sure you have 5 cups of cooked rice ready to go.  Rice that is already cool gives the best results. 

In a large pot/pan render out the diced bacon.  When the bacon gets crispy (but not burned) you can drain on a paper towel and reserve until later.  You can get discard the oil and use canola oil or you can use 2 Tbs of the bacon fat to cook the vegetables and pork that comes next.  I decided to go for the bacon fat this time around.  It gave a lot of flavor.

In the same pan add your curry leaves, bay leaves,  cumin seeds, mustard seeds and cinnamon stick.  Fry for 30-45 seconds until the seeds start to splutter.

Next add your diced pork, onions, celery, chilies and scallions.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Then add your grated ginger and garlic.  Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

** salt to season your pork and vegetables here, but remember you will be adding chicken stock/bullion and bacon later so salt conservatively.

Now add your ground spices: curry powder, chili flakes and turmeric.  Allow the spices to bloom for 1-2 minutes.   Then add your chicken stock or water and chicken bullion powder.

Next add your cans of drained and rinsed black eyed peas.  Simmer the dish on medium for 10-12 minutes. 

Once the curry is made and seasoned to your desired taste, add the cooked rice. Mix the rice into the curry gently.

Top with the crumbled bacon and serve.  Serves 4-6 people.  This dish goes very well with a raita yogurt salad.  Here is a link to one of my raita salads:  Cucumber and Carrot Raita.    Enjoy.

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