For many people, it’s traditional to eat Hoppin’ John (black-eyed peas and rice) for New Year’s Day dinner, as we did last year. Traditionally, it’s thought that, if you have Hoppin’ John on the 1st, along with greens and cornbread, you’ll have a prosperous year. Now, we know that many people already know that, but did you also know that if you eat the leftover Hoppin’ John on the 2nd, it’s called Skippin’ Jenny? We hadn’t heard of that, either, until we read it on Wikipedia.
While we’re big believers in tradition, we also like to mix it up just a bit, and this New Years’ we started with a dish we call Hoppin’ Shawn; the leftovers will, of course, be known as Skippin’ Susan. Basically, Hoppin’ Shawn is a take on Hoppin’ Juan, which is black beans and rice, only we made ours into a casserole with a little cheese and some jalapenos on half. Oh, and, if you’re wondering, yes, we did have cornbread this year (no greens, though, as we didn’t have any in the house).
Now, if you didn’t have Hoppin’ John for New Year’s day, perhaps because you didn’t know the tradition, you still can have Hoppin’ Shawn and get all the traditional benefits, as it’s more forgiving. Basically, you can have it any time of the year! And more than once is okay, too!
Makes one 9×13 pan.
For rice, we’ve linked to the post on basmati rice, but any rice will do for this dish; we used a brown and red jasmine mix. You’ll note that there aren’t any spices listed above, as we assume that you’ll be seasoning the beans while they cook. And, yes, if possible, start with dried beans, as they lack that tinny taste of the can.
Procedure in detail:
Prep beans and rice. We humbly suggest our favorite recipe for black beans, as we think it’s one of the best (and easiest). For rice, if you have basmati, we’ve given instructions for perfect basmati rice, too.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.
Layer rice and beans. Place a layer of rice on the bottom of the pan, smoothing to make even, but don’t pack it down. Then scoop a layer of beans across the top, making sure to include some of the bean broth. Our bean broth came about halfway up the baking pan. We wanted that much so it would be absorbed by the rice during baking.
Cheezify. Spread the shredded cheese across the beans, then top with as many or as few jalapeños as you like. We did half jalapeño Hoppin’ Shawn.
Bake. You can bake it now for about 30 to 40 minutes, or, if you’ve prepped this in advance, bake it later for perhaps 40 to 50 minutes, assuming it’s cold from being in the refrigerator. Either way, bake until the cheese is melted and the bean liquid is absorbed. Serve at once, reserving leftovers for Skippin’ Susan.
Now, how can you go wrong with beans and rice? For us, it’s probably our hands-down favorite meal, so you know right off that this will get five stars. Plus, this one is nice because you can assemble the casserole in advance and bake it up at a later time (that’s what we did), and, if you time everything just right, you can whip up a batch of cornbread to have along with it. Even if this doesn’t provide a full year of prosperity, it will provide a delicious meal.