I'm always thinking about food. Who isn't? You can tell by my extra chins that I like to eat. So on the menu for New Year's is Rice Pudding, Aebleskiver and Hoppin John. Crazy to mix a southern food with two Danish foods, I know. But that is what makes it our tradition. We have been doing this same menu for several years now and it just isn't right without it.
Hoppin John is a traditional southern food that is eaten on New Year’s Day for good luck and a prosperous year. When I eat Hoppin John, I have to eat cornbread. It just isn’t right to eat beans or peas without cornbread, right? My favorite cornbread ever is from the blue Jiffy box. I've tried a hundred different recipes and that is always the favorite! This year I will have to try a gluten free/dairy free recipe. I picked up some Pamela's cornbread that we will try out. I always like to add in some chopped green chilis to the cornbread. It just puts in a little kick.
I use this recipe for the Hoppin John, with a couple exceptions, I hate ham hocks so I use a ham steak. It is much less salty. I also use a few splashes of Poblano Sauce that Katrina turned us onto as well as a small can of diced green chilis.
Here is Emeri'ls Hoppin John recipe from the Food Network site:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large ham hock
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
1 quart chicken stock
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
Salt, black pepper, and cayenne
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
3 cups steamed white rice
Heat oil in a large soup pot, add the ham hock and sear on all sides for 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, cook for 4 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, thyme, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the peas are creamy and tender, stir occasionally. If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock. Adjust seasonings, and garnish with green onions. Serve over rice.
(Edited to add: I tried the Pamela's cornbread. I used the sweet cornbread recipe and I subbed 1/3 cup oil for the butter and added some green chilis. Oh my! Move over Jiffy, Pamela has now taken your place. It was nice and crumbly. We broke it up and put it in the bottom of our bowls and spooned over the Hoppin' John. So good.)
Now let's talk about rice pudding or risengrød . It is a traditional Danish thing. I like to stick to my roots;) I found this recipe while blog hopping last year. And it doesn't require me to stand over my stove stirring for an hour. I like it;)
Recipe for Creamy Oven-Baked Rice Pudding
from Today's Parent
⅓ cup rice
3 cups hot milk
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 250°F. Butter a casserole dish. Stir in rice, hot milk, sugar, and butter. Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 2½ hours, stirring every half-hour. Add raisins in the last half-hour. Remove pudding from oven. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
The Danish tradition is to have almond slivers in the pudding and one whole almond. At Christmas time, the person that gets the whole almond gets a candy pig. We won’t add almonds though.
And lastly, we always make Aebleskiver.
The cookbook we use is old. The pages turn right to the recipe. You can tell it is a favorite recipe too, because the page is nicely splattered. Dad has handwritten the conversion to make it a quadruple batch, that is just how we roll! Aebleskiver are round Danish sort of pancakes. You have to have a special pan to make them in.
My parent's pan is very old and well seasoned. Mine is only a few years old and not as seasoned. I'm working on it;) You fry them up and carefully turn them over. I bought some Lingonberry jelly at a specialty store to stuff the aebleskiver with. Elderberry jelly is another good one. But really our favorite is good old grape jelly.
You stuff the inside of the Aebleskiver with jelly, top them with a little handmade powdered sugar (did you know store bought powdered sugar usually has cornstarch in it? I blend up my own from just sugar.) and enjoy!
I am wheat and dairy free (boo) so this year I used Bob’s Red Mill flour mix, and rice milk as well as a different butter in place of regular flour, milk and butter. If you have jelly in them, you really can’t tell the difference. But, I warn you not to eat too many, if you aren’t used to that specific mix because it is made from garbanzo and fava beans…you will know later. We made one batch from the regular recipe, and one batch with my replacements and they both were eaten like wildfires…or something that is eaten quickly…cake…sugar…whatever your poison is.
Do you have any specific New Years Traditions? Do you have any recipes to share?