Lucky New Year Hoppin’ John Risotto
Black eyed peas bring good luck for the New Year – stirred into risotto!
Though I’m not from the South myself, I absolutely adore many Southern food traditions, and one of my absoute favorites is the annual New Year’s Day feast, including greens for prosperity and blackeyed peas for further abundance and luck! (The Urban Luddite also informs me that you DON’T want to eat chicken on New Year’s, as it represents regret and backwards motion.)
I’ve been a little gunshy about risotto innovations ever since a first attempt left me seriously scarred. I don’t know what I was thinking, but it came down to a whole series of Don’ts. I’m reluctant to even talk about it, since I wouldn’t blame you for never trusting my cooking judgment again after hearing about this, but I feel compelled to warn you. For the record, if you’re out of white wine or even vermouth, DON’T think beer will make for a fun new flavor sensation. And if you’re also out of vegetable or chicken stock, DON’T for a minute think that leftover french onion soup will pair nicely with the beer. And when you taste the bitter, nasty heinousness that results, DON’T try to cover up the heinous with endless amounts of cheese and heavy cream. It just wastes perfectly good cheese and heavy cream.
Man, I’m still just aghast at the memory. However bad you’re imagining it was, after that description – trust me, it was worse. Easily the worst thing I’ve ever cooked in my life.
So when it came time to try this New Year’s Day risotto idea, I have to admit I was nervous, and played it pretty conservative. But I’m happy to report that it turned out beautifully after all.
– posted by Anne
HOPPIN’ JOHN RISOTTO
1 quart vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter (replace with more olive oil if going for vegan)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic. minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
juice and zest of one lemon
1 bunch Swiss chard, kale, or other hearty greens, de-stemmed and chopped; I like to do a chiffonade-style with the chard
1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt (possibly more to taste; adjust at the end)
2 cups cooked blackeyed peas, drained and rinsed if using canned
1/3 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (optional)
Heat the stock in a small stockpot at the back of the stovetop and keep it rolling gently at a low simmer. In a large saute pan, heat the butter and olive oil together, and when melter, add the diced onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until onion starts to soften but not quite brown. Stir in the garlic and rice. Once every grain of rice is well-coated in oil, add in the wine and stir until evaporated. Begin adding in the stock, one ladle at a fime, stirring stirring stirring after every addition.
Once you get down to the last few ladles, start checking the bite of the rice – once it’s starting to be nearly done, add the greens into the stock that’s left in the pot and let them cook down a bit. Meanwhile, add the lemon juice, zest, and dried spices. Add the remaining stock and greens to the pot, then gently stir in the rinsed beans. Remove from heat, add the cheese and cream, and adjust seasoning to taste.
We share this to spread the prosperity and abundance with you and yours in 2014. Cheers to all!
– posted by Anne