My second choice for Vegetarian Times week was Hoppin’ John with Collard Greens from the November/December 2007 issue. I’ve made dishes that were similar to Hoppin’ John before, but never by following a recipe, so I was interested to see what “real” Hoppin’ John tasted like. I love the name Hoppin’ John!
I’m big into liquid smoke and use it whenever I want a smoky flavor, so using veggie bacon was an interesting change from the norm. The recipe as printed was a little confusing – the first step is to mix a few ingredients and set aside, but then it never tells you when to add the mixture. I added it to the rice and beans portion, since the collards already had plenty of flavoring, but it looks like the online version of the recipe is updated to add the mixture to the greens part. Honestly, you end up mixing everything together when you eat it, so I would just put everything in the same pan instead of cooking it separately. The good news is that it tasted really great! It was a perfect mix of sweetness, vinegar, heat and wholesome ingredients. My biggest complaint would be that there weren’t enough greens! The collards wilted down so much that I would definitely recommend at least two bunches instead of one. This is a great recipe if you’re looking for something traditional to serve on New Year’s Day.