Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hoppin' Jason

First, who or what in the world is a Hoppin' Jason?  This whole culinary ordeal started about a month ago when I was watching an episode of Cooking For Real on Food Network.  Sunny (the host) was working on some type of Southern-style menu and she made her version of Hoppin' John.  Okay, so what's Hoppin' John?  It's a black eyed peas and rice dish that's commonly enjoyed in the South.  Despite the old tradition that they bring good luck, I don't like black eyed peas.  Apparently, Sunny doesn't like them either, so she made a modification of the traditional dish and called it Hoppin' Jason.  Who is Jason?  Apparently he's her boyfriend.  Or something like that.  I don't know, but the food was good.

(Click "read more" below.)

I made a few modifications to Sunny's recipe.  I used diced lite kielbasa (my favorite brand, Hickory Farms) and I topped the dish with green onions.  I also used canned beans instead of dried beans.  It made the cooking time a lot shorter and I don't think it sacrificed at all in taste.  I tried to use this recipe as a vehicle to use up all of the veggies in the fridge, but E objected to my use of red and green peppers.  Go figure.  This man doesn't like peppers no matter how small I cut them.

Slab bacon... mmmm.
 I loved this recipe.  This was my first experience with slab bacon, which I was surprised to find chillin' with all the other processed meats in the meat case at ShopRite.  Slab bacon, where have you been all my life?  That's some delicious, smoky flavor!  Don't skimp on that ingredient.

The best part is that the leftovers reheat really well.  Even you bean-haters should try this one.  The beans are very light, almost creamy in texture and they just blend right into each bite of rice.  This is a one pot meal, just be ready to chop and drop.  But don't drink too much wine or watch an engaging television program while you are cooking.  The last time I made this dish I made a few mistakes because I was talking on the phone and watching television while cooking.  The end result was still delicious.

Hoppin' Jason
slightly modified from Cooking For Real
serves 8

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound slab bacon, diced
8 ounces kielbasa, diced  
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
Kosher salt
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2, 14-ounce cans white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 cups long grain white rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions, for serving

In a large pot, heat the oil and bacon over medium heat. When the bacon starts to render its fat, add the sausage and cook until the bacon crisps up and the sausage turns golden, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon and sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

To the pan, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Season with a pinch of salt. Saute until tender, then add the garlic, oregano, white pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook until garlic is tender and pot is fragrant.

Add the chicken stock and rice to the pot.  Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes or until rice is done, stirring occasionally.  Stir in beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until beans are heated through.  Season to taste.

Serve topped with green onions.


  1. This may be dinner this weekend! Thanks!

  2. This sounds great! I love beans...yum! Plus I have some kielbasa sitting in my fridge right now :)


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