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Collards Stuffed with Hoppin’ John

It’s only fitting that my first post of 2010 should be about Hoppin’ John. A Southern tradition, this tasty rice and black-eyed peas combo served with collard greens has been a New Year’s Day fixture in my house since the 1980s, when I lived in Charleston, S.C. What’s not to love about a dish that is delicious, cheap, easy to make, and also holds the promise of good luck in the coming year?

This year I made my usual Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day (you can find the recipe here), but I also wanted to break from tradition, so, the next day, I stuffed several steamed collard leaves with some of the Hoppin’ John — kind of like stuffed cabbage, Southern-style.

In anticipation, I had made a double batch of Hoppin’ John and bought extra collards, reserving several of the cooked leaves to use for stuffing. Since the ingredients were prepared ahead of time, it was a simple matter to stuff and roll the collards. I arranged them in a shallow baking dish and poured a small amount of vegetable broth over them. I then covered them with foil and baked them until hot.

Served with vegan sour cream, Tabasco, and a side of applesauce, the stuffed leaves have a wonderful flavor and they also make a gorgeous presentation. Those beautiful flat leaves are so much easier to work with than cabbage leaves — and much prettier too. I think these Hoppin’ John Stuffed Collards will be in a regular menu rotation throughout 2010.