Jim Brown's Hopping John
For the okra Creole sauce:
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tbsps. butter
4 cups okra (fresh, canned or frozen)
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. thyme
One 8-oz. can tomato sauce
Dash of Tabasco
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Saute onion and green pepper in butter 5 minutes. Stir often. Add okra and cook 5 minutes, stirring. Add remaining ingredients. Cook slowly to reduce volume by one-half. Correct seasonings. Set aside.
For the beans:
2 cups dried lima beans
1 lb. salt pork, cut in 1-inch slices, leaving attached to rind
2 qts. water
1 clove garlic
Couple red pepper pods
Small bay leaf
1 cup long-grained rice
1. Wash beans and soak overnight. Cook meat in water 30 minutes. Add drained, cooked beans. Add garlic, salt, red pepper pods and bay leaf. Cook until beans are almost tender.
2 Add rice and cook 20 minutes longer (or until tender), adding more liquid if necessary. Drain and put in warm oven to fluff the rice.
3. Serve with heated Creole sauce with salt pork sliced across the top. Garnish with parsley. Serve with cornbread. Serves 6-8.
Thoughts: For traditional Hoppin' John made with black-eyed peas, eliminate Creole sauce and substitute ham hocks or bacon for salt pork. Creole sauce is an excellent base for seasoning fresh corn. Flavor with diced cooked bacon and herbs.