Here’s wishing everyone out there peace, happiness and much good luck in the new year…. including mister gardener and me!
We decided to celebrate the end of 2018 in a style that’s quite rare for us. It’s usually a cozy night at home and an early evening, but we upped the ante with dinner at a local upscale eatery, the Epoch, with a six course New Year’s Eve meal. Oh wow!
We thought it’d be a terrific time to treat ourselves while marking the end of an up and down year and celebrating the beginning of a new year full of good cheer and happy plans.
We loved all the courses… new tastes for us like Arpege Egg, a soft-boiled egg with maple syrup, sherry, and a coriander floret, and for mister gardener, a favorite of tender bay scallops, but the highlight for me was Hoppin’ John soup. Not the Hoppin’ John recipe I grew up with, which is whole black-eyed peas served over a bed of rice, but a creamy rich soup topped with sprigs of water cress. Yum!
It was so good that today I tried to make my own version of the Hoppin’ John soup using ingredients I have at home. No watercress. No cream of celery soup. Not sure included in their ‘Trinity’ they printed on the menu but I could guess it was the Trinity of celery, onions and bell peppers found in Cajun cooking. No bell pepper in our refrigerator.
I began by sauteing onion and celery in bacon grease until tender, then added chicken stock. I scraped up all the pan bits, added the peas, a chopped potato and seasonings and simmered until done. I threw in a handful of spinach leaves and with the immersion blender, I made a pureed soup that passed the taste test. A dollop of sour cream and voila!
It doesn’t taste exactly like Epoch’s tasty soup but my version is good enough. I may never eat traditional Hoppin’ John black-eyed peas over rice for good luck on New Year’s Day again.