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Hoppin' John Stew & White Cheddar Grits

grits with peas recipe

Can you believe 2012 is coming to an end?  I'm always excited to welcome a new year but tend to get a little sentimental about saying farewell too. Last night as I tucked Luke into bed, we talked about today being the last day of 2012.  Why is it that time seems to speed up with age? Does it ever slow down again?

Nevertheless, time continues and so do traditions.  Like so many other southern traditions, eating black eyed peas and greens to ring in the new year dates back many, many years.  It's believed that the black eyed peas bring luck and prosperity while the greens bring wealth and fortune.  We cook a traditional peas and greens meal on New Years Day but today I'm sharing an alternative way to enjoy this wonderful southern tradition!

This hoppin' John stew is so flavorful and relatively healthy considering it includes lean deli ham vs. bacon or ham hocks.  It's quite hearty and would make a great meal if you're entertaining a crowd on New Years Day.  (Don't forget the mimosas!)  I can't wait to ring in 2013 and wish all of you a happy and healthy new year!

***** Hoppin' John Stew with White Cheddar Grits **************************************
Serves 4-6  (adapted from here)

// Ingredients //

4 tbsp. butter, divided
1/4 lb. deli ham, sliced and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 can corn (11 oz.)
2 can black eyed peas, (15 oz.)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup kale, chopped
Grits, cooked according to package
1 cup shredded white cheddar
2 tsp. salt, divided

// Instructions //

1.  Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a large stock pot.  Add onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until translucent.  Then add tomatoes, corn, black eyed peas, kale and 1 tsp. salt.  Cover, reduce heat and stir occasionally for 15 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, cook grits according to the package.  Add, 3 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. salt and 1 cup white cheddar grits.

3.  Remove Hoppin' John Stew from heat and add cilantro.

4.  Serve grits and top with stew.  Then add diced ham.  Serve and enjoy!

southern peas and grits

*photography by Amy Mikkelsen, Your Southern Peach

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