Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Lazy John: A New Twist on an Old Favorite

Ever since being on this diet, one of the things I miss most is being able to eat Southern food.  I know that it's incredibly unhealthy, and I'm doing myself a favor by not eating all of that fat and grease, but there's a little piece of the South in me that just refuses to be silenced by food allergies.  I can't really blame it either because Southerners make incredibly amazing food. I have yet to find a restaurant in Utah that makes descent Southern food, and even if I did, I would have to have a mommy's night out because all menu items would be off limits to my food allergy toddler.  One of my favorite Southern foods (and thankfully one that isn't food allergy banned) is collard greens, and not just any collard greens; Southern collard greens.  Try as I might,  I can't make them like Q's BBQ or the dining hall at the University of Richmond, but this recipe is my attempt to do it anyway.  I also found out that my daughter loves collard greens.  Yup, you read that right.  My three year old LOVES collard greens, so this recipe was an instant hit at our house.

My original idea for this recipe was to wrap the Hoppin' John in the collard greens like a blanket.  The very nature of collard greens made that awkward and impossible, however, so I just made them up separate and threw them in my existing recipe for Hoppin' John just to see what would happen.  And it came out even better!  I'm seriously never going back. I have been converted to Lazy John for life!

Lazy John:

For the Collard Greens


1-2 bunches collard greens
1 ham hock (optional)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Broth or Water to cover (3-4 cups)

Stove Top Directions:

  1. Add water and ham hock (if using) to a large pot.  Heat until boiling.  Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for an hour.  If not using the ham hock, start on step 2.
  2. Wash the collard greens and chop into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add the collard greens and all remaining ingredients to the pot.  Add enough water or broth to cover.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for an hour or until they are tender.
  4. Drain the greens and set aside.
Crock Pot Directions:

I usually prefer this method since I can throw it in the crock pot in the morning and have it ready when I get home from work at night.  Simply just toss all the ingredients into the crock pot and cook 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.  Drain the greens and set aside.

For the Hoppin' John

3 slices bacon
1 clove garlic
1 green pepper
1/2 cup onion
1 Tablespoon pickled jalapeño (or fresh)
3 cups black eyed peas (2 cans)
1 cup black beans (1 can)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste*
1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 cup mushrooms sliced
salt and pepper to taste 
  1. In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until it is crispy.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, pepper, jalapeño, oregano, thyme, salt, and maple syrup to the pan and sauté until tender.  I just use the bacon grease to sauté the veggies.  It really enhances the flavor of the whole dish.  However, if you are looking for a leaner option, you can just use a little olive oil. 
  3. Add the collard greens and mushrooms and continue sauteing until the mushrooms are soft stirring continually so as not to burn the greens.
  4. Add the beans and bacon and heat through.
*If you use canned beans, you may want to reduce the salt.