Hoppin ‘John Recipe |  Serious eating

Hoppin ‘John Recipe | Serious eating

[Photographs: Jillian Atkinson]

There are a lot of stories behind Hoppin ‘Johnand probably even more versions of the recipe. I grew up in Deep South, where Hoppin ‘John – a dish made with rice and peas – was always served on New Year’s Day along with our greens and cornbread. But it was not referred to just one day of the year.

While Hoppin ‘John was supposed to bring prosperity and good luck to the new year, rice dishes with a casserole made with almost anything were a part of the table at regular intervals, and courts of all kinds were always in our diets. I did not find out until I was much older that cowpeas are not known to most people outside of the Deep South. Only when I got older did I realize that Hoppin ‘John I grew up eating and what other people call Hoppin’ John are very different.

Not only had I never had the dish made with the black-eyed peas that many used, but I had never had it does not made with rice, meat and peas cooked together. Plain boiled rice with peas on top was just … rice with peas on top, and mixing them together after that just seemed like it defeated the purpose of making them separately.

I had also noticed that we – people from the lowlands of Georgia, South Carolina and other nearby areas – made rice that had more color for it because we used field pies to make our Hoppin ‘John. Often called “southern peas”, field peas are the close cousins ​​of black-eyed peas; both are types of koerter, although naming and classification can be confusing, as different regions use the terms differently and often interchangeably.

But to me, they are not all the same. The brownish-red skins from the markers I grew up with give the rice a beautiful almost reddish color, and their taste is a little sweeter and more nutty than the one with black eyes. Cooking them all together with a flavorful broth made from smoked meats and aromatics gives impressive flavor to the white long-grain rice you choose to use.

It took me a while to learn that there was a reason most people now use black-eyed peas instead of marker peas. During the great migration out of the deep south of black peoples, people still carried on their traditions, even when they could not carry the ingredients. Coars in all shapes, sizes and colors are found all over the country, but these very specific field pies were only found in the south. So when the people moved, they adapted and used another, albeit well-known, substitute in the form of the black eye.

Over the years, I have seen other adaptations where people make the classic dish their own way of fitting into their lifestyle. Some people swear by bacon in their Hoppin ‘John, and although I do not feel it is necessary given the smoked meat already in there, feel free to add some rendered crispy bacon at the end while you fluff the rice , so a bit of its crisp texture is left. Or you can use bacon instead of the smoked ham hock required in the recipe, or add them both together! I did not grow up eating much or any pork at all, so we used smoked turkey (necks, tails, wings whatever you could find) instead of ham-hash or salty pork often found in recipes, and we added beef bacon (or no bacon at all) instead.

I’ve even seen vegetarian versions done that contain no smoked meat at all, and instead the grains and legumes get their flavor from cooking the peas in vegetable broth.

My recipe starts with slow cooking the smoked meat in water so that it falls apart, leaving a broth that is not only deep and rich, but that makes your whole house smell good. Then I cook the peas in the same broth with just a few spices and seasonings. The last step is to add parboiled rice and cook the dish in the oven until the rice is fluffy, each grain is dry enough to keep all the ingredients separate but still tender.

Even I have not mastered the art of making Hoppin ‘John with traditional Carolina Gold rice, which should be cooked differently than your average medium or long grain rice you find in stores. I have found that parboiled rice is one of the best options for soft grains that are tender but still dry enough not to be glued together.

For that purpose, I also use the oven for the final cooking phase. Even after many years of practice, I still can not reliably perform the whole process on the stove, where my rice sometimes turns into mash – something I am sure many, many grandmothers and aunts shamelessly shake their heads at me for. Fortunately, the oven delivers a more gentle heat that boils the rice through from all sides without the risk of scorching or requires stirring or overcooking that can release starch and push Hoppin ‘John in the direction of what we call a “mash. It also steers the rice away from developing a mushroom-like or risotto-like consistency, where the grains are wetter and more liquid is left in the pan.

This recipe easily feeds six to eight people, and although it could be scaled down, it is a dish usually served with friends and family, especially during the holidays. The more you make (and eat), the more prosperity you will have in the new year.

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Sini Manti (Armenian baked lamb manti) recipe

Sini Manti (Armenian baked lamb manti) recipe

[Photographs: Andrew Janjigian]

Until a few years ago, eating manti was a Christmas Eve ritual for my extended Armenian family. In the weeks before the holiday, the women in the family gathered at the weekend at my Aunt Esther’s house to make the little buns, which they then freeze. Hours and hours (and hours) of work went into making enough mantis to feed a few dozen people for a meal they had been looking forward to eating all year round. And then it would be over, and we would all have to wait another year.

Manti is common to many Central and West Asian dishes, small packets of spicy minced lamb or beef surrounded by thin wheat dough wraps that are typically steamed or cooked. Armenian manti, sometimes called “sini manti”, however, is a little different. The diminutive, canoe-shaped and open face bun is baked until crispy instead and served in a tomato-infused meat broth, finished with a dollop of yogurt, chopped garlic and a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper and sumac powder. For me, this is the ultimate manti, as the combination of flavors and textures is unparalleled: crunchy-crispy dumplings, their corners gently softened by the warm, aromatic broth, paired with the cool, sour yogurt, all in the light of slightly spicy , fruity and sour garnish.

Unfortunately, as my family members got older and the schedules got busier, we let this annual ritual fall by the wayside. I use “we” here, even though the decision in truth was never up to me or any of the other men in my family, as we never even participated in the work of making manti. When the women in our clan decided that they no longer had the time or energy to make manti for Christmas Eve, it was a sad but completely understandable moment in light of the work involved.

That’s why I wanted to create a manti recipe for you here to bring our family tradition back, albeit only in recipe form. I used my aunt Esther’s manti recipe as inspiration and starting point for my own. I have streamlined her process a bit by resorting to labor and time-saving tools like a pasta roll and pressure cooker, and I have taken myself free with the dough formula a bit, but for the most part I have tried to remain true to the spirit of her recipe and result.

As with all stuffed dumplings, manties are best made in a group setting where the job of rolling, cutting, filling and shaping can be shared between many people. So far, of course, it is not an option, but I can say that during many rounds of recipe testing, my wife and I had no problem making many hundreds of manties alone, just the two of us. We also had no problem eating them all ourselves.

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How to make groats recipe

How to make groats recipe

[Photographs: Jillian Atkinson]

As a girl who grew up in the South, I consider groats just as much a part of my life blood as camouflage, sweet tea and salt water. I have eaten more than my weight in boiled cornmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner as a side or entree. Relatively cheap, fast and available grains are the perfect base for a meal that sticks to your ribs and keeps you full all day. Most people are either ardent fans or they absolutely despise grits, but what it really means to me is that many have not had a good pot.

Most people have only eaten fast-cooked grains, perhaps at a dining room or a family member’s house. These cereals were probably characterless and tasted a bit like cardboard, topped with a butter flap that muffled the corn flavor, which in any case was lost in the middle of the heavy breakfast they were probably served with. Very few people – including many southerners who have ingested innumerable bowls of it – have ever had grains made from good quality corn, simmered low and slow, stirred with love and care until they formed a silk porridge; sweet, nutty and creamy, they take what looks like a whole morning to cook. These are the grains my grandmother talks so lovingly about, and the ones I want to show you how to make here.

Grits are one of the first real American foods. According to Deep South Magazine, the indigenous peoples of Muscogee were among the first known producers of what we today call groats, knocked or ground dried corn with stones to create a coarse cornmeal and then boiled it in a soup or porridge called safke. (They also added odor to the safflower as it boiled, effectively nikstamalized it as hominy, removing bran and improving corn digestibility and nutritional value. This is probably how the word “hominy” was attached to grains, although most grains today are not made from nixtamalized corn.)

When colonizers arrived in the 1600s, they were introduced to native corn and its many preparations, including cereals. Grits would become a staple in the southern colonies and form what is now known as the “grits belt” that runs from Texas to Washington, DC, where most of the country’s groats are sold.

How to cook perfect, granny-approved grits

Like making a casserole of perfectly cooked white rice, Grandma-approved cooking grains can seem like a daunting task. Common problems usually run the color scale, from the grain being too runny and undercooked until the grain becomes too dry, thick and / or full of undercooked lumps. All too often, poorly made grains are hidden behind large amounts of cream and cheese and then suffocated under sauces, spices and other intensely flavorful fillings. To really appreciate grains, all you really need is a few short ingredients (salt, butter, water and quality grains) and a good technique.

Choice of the best gravel

For a really unusual pot direction, we recommend stone-ground groats like those from Southern Queen. While we used stone-ground grain in some of our recipe tests, this recipe works with grain from most other mills and brands. The main exceptions are instant and quick groats, which are convenient products for quick cooking that require less water; these products must be manufactured using the packaging instructions.

Stone-based grains are made from whole-grain grains that have been pulverized in a stone mill to produce a more complex structure that ranges from larger bits down to a fine powder. They also have a shorter shelf life due to the inclusion of corn bran, which contains oils that become rancid over time. The shelf life of these grains can be extended by storing them in a cool, dry place, preferably the refrigerator, or freezer for longer storage for more than a month.

Correct grit technique

Cooking groats is very much like cooking polenta. You will need a sufficiently large volume of water relative to the amount of grain to guarantee that even the largest bit of dried corn is completely moisturized and softens. At home, I often start with a ratio of 4: 1 in volume of water to grains, and if the grains are not fully cooked when thickened, I add more water and bump the ratio up to 5: 1. In the following recipe, I have set the ratio from start to 5: 1, as there is no harm in starting with a little more water (in the worst case, boil it for a few more minutes to get thicker). This guarantees – even for a total beginner – a pot that boils up silky and creamy.

I also like to cook my covered groats, lift the lid every few minutes to whip thoroughly and stir and scrape to prevent lumps from forming and the bottom burning. The lid catches steam, which reduces the chances of a lumpy skin forming on top, and it will also contain any sprays of scalding grains from flying out of the pot, which can happen when the porridge thickens.

Deciding when your groats are done is a personal choice and determines your total cooking time. Some people like their grains more on the running side with a little gravelly structure still left, others want them creamy and thick but liquid, while some want them so stiff that they are able to keep their shape , when they have appeared. Feel free to cook your grains to the point you want (however, note that once your grains are fully hydrated, you can thicken them faster if you remove the lid to let the steam out).

Serving Grits

There are many ways to serve cereal in addition to this humble recipe. Shrimp and groats is a classic pairing and there are a million and one ways to change this recipe: add crab, lobster, crayfish, oysters or any other seafood you like. You can also serve them with a suffocating sauce with chicken or Turkey, or with a rig red wine-braised piece of beef.

Of course, they are the perfect side to your breakfast platter with eggs, bacon and toast, but you can also change that by adding salmon or corned beef hash (my favorites). You can let the grains cool and fry them in cereal, which is a good appetizer or a meal. Adding cheese, bacon, green onions, sausage and anything else you may have in your kitchen cabinets or refrigerators is always a good way to go as cereals can supplement most things. However, the one thing you will never find on the table with my groats is sugar. Leave it for oatmeal and other porridge.

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Coconut balls EASY recipe with and without oven

Coconut balls EASY recipe with and without oven

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bolitas de coco receta coquitos navidad

The coconut balls or coquitos are sweets in the form of balls, made with coconut, sugar, eggs and sprinkled with icing sugar, which will delight those who try them.

A Christmas candy fantastic and very easy to make, which can be presented together with the nougats and homemade sweets that we make. If you have not yet dared to prepare homemade nougat, Roscón de Reyes and a long etc … why what not to start with these coconut balls ? They are not difficult at all. In fact, they are so easy that the little ones can help us to prepare them: the older ones will take care of the baking while they form the balls.

But to make it even easier, we will also leave you a version of coconut balls without an oven. In this case, the ingredients are coconut and condensed milk, nothing more.

The coconut coquitos are a very aromatic sweet, with a delicious texture and a Very beautiful presentation that will leave guests (both adults and children) with their mouths open.

Do you want us to start with the recipe of Coconut balls? Let’s go there!.

Recipe for coconut balls or coquitos

bolitas de coco receta


130 g of grated coconut

130 g sugar

  • 1 egg
  • Powdered sugar

How to make homemade coconut balls

We make the coconut dough

  • First, we preheat the oven to 180 º C, heat up and down.
  • We mix the coconut together with the beaten egg and sugar to form a dough.
  • Take small portions of dough and form small balls.
  • We are incorporating them into small mini capsules (we like these that we show you here below, which are very original):

We bake the coquitos

  • We take to the oven for 10 – 12 minutes to 180 º, heat up and down.
  • After the time has elapsed, we remove the coquitos from the oven and let them cool on a rack.
  • Once cold, sprinkle with icing sugar.
  • Bolitas de coco

    Coconut recipe yes n oven

    Ingredients (for 10 Coquitos):

    • 100 g of grated coconut
    • 4 or 5 tablespoons of condensed milk
    • to decorate: grated coconut, colored sugar sprinkles, chocolate noodles, etc.

    receta de coquitos de coco How to make coquitos without an oven

    • In a bowl we mix the grated coconut with the condensed milk, you We need to get a manageable mass. For that we add the condensed milk little by little, until you see that a mass is formed that can be handled.
    • We make balls with our hands and We coat them in the grains, or the coconut, whatever we have chosen to decorate.
    • We re-shape them into a ball and press slightly so that the pimple sticking.
    • Let it rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.

    receta de coquitos de coco

    You already have two easy recipes for coconut balls or coquitos … Which one are you going to prepare this Christmas?