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Hoppin' Freddie

KYSHA HARRIS Special to the AmNews | 12/28/2011, 5:51 p.m.
Hoppin' Freddie

Dear Mr. Freddie:

A little bird told me that you have been reading my weekly column, Talking SCHOP!, since I first started writing for The Amsterdam News in 2006. Thank you! I hear you and some of your colleagues at 100 Church St. congregate in the break room to see what's on the menu each week. Thank you again!

I also heard you want recipes for the dishes I tend to wax on about. I promise I will do better in 2012 to get you as many as possible. In the interim and in the spirit of a lucky new year, here is my updated recipe for Hoppin' John, which will now be known as Hoppin' Freddie for you. It is the only recipe that is "new" every year.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • cayenne, to taste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 smoked turkey wing or leg, cut
  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, picked over
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock, plus more if needed
  • 2-3 stems of fresh thyme OR 1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped scallion

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, salt, pepper and cayenne and saute for four minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add smoked turkey, black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 40 minutes or until the peas are creamy and tender, stirring occasionally. If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock.

Remove smoked turkey, cut the meat off the bone and add the meat back to the pot. Taste and readjust seasonings. Serve over brown rice garnished with green onions.

Mr. Freddie, you might have to double-quadruple this recipe to serve to all of your 60-plus children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Happy New Year!