Have a Fabulous New Year with Okie Hoppin’ John

It’s a longstanding belief, at least around these parts, that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is good luck for the coming year. So, every year I make my version of Hoppin’ John. It’s a bit of a nuisance, but so worth it.

Okie Hoppin’ John

2 packages wild rice, cooked as directed

1 package Kielbasa sausage, cut into chunks

12 ounces Velveeta cheese

1 small carton sour cream

1 can chicken broth, divided

1 can black olives, sliced or chopped

1 tablespoon butter or cooking oil

1 large sweet onion or 2 bunches green onions, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 can black eyed peas with jalapeños, including juice

1 can black eyed peas with bacon, including juice

6-10 drops hot sauce, optional

Cook rice according to directions. While rice is cooking, sauté onions and garlic in butter or cooking oil.

Mix remaining ingredients except chicken broth in a slow cooker, adding the onions and garlic when they are ready. Add rice after cooking. Add about 1/2 can of chicken broth so the sauce is slightly runny and let it all sit in slow cooker on medium for at least an hour before serving. If sauce thickens too much, add another splash of chicken broth.

Notes: For added heat, add jalapeños or extra hot pepper sauce. Dish is also delicious with cooked bacon crumbled in it.

This dish is a wonderful way to start the New Year. It’s a southern superstition that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is good luck for the coming year. However, many people don’t particularly enjoy black eyed peas on their own. In this Hoppin’ John, even the pickiest eaters will usually gobble them up.

FamilyHolidayFavorites10-15This recipe is from Family Holiday Favorites, only $2.99 on Amazon. The e-book contains 50 tried-and-true recipes gathered from several different families. The book is illustrated to maintain a festive appeal and has a linked table of contents for frustration-free navigation. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WDHL20

Sausage Chili Cheeseburger Awesomeness

Had lunch today at a local burger joint called Ron’s. Ask just about anyone in Northeast Oklahoma where to get a great burger, and their response is likely to include Ron’s. (There are several great burger joints in these parts.)

I believe their Sausage Chili Cheeseburger is pure genius. I used to eat at the original Ron’s, which was a little, bitty shotgun building with a grill on one side and barstool seating down the center. The best part (aside from the food) of eating there was watching Ron run that grill! Talking to Ron (and the primary waitress – his daughter Rhonda), I learned a few things.

The burger is made with half hamburger meat and half sausage mixed together and seasoned with their own seasoning mix. I’ve tried this at home and it’s delicious. I season mine with a sprinkle of seasoning salt, a little garlic salt and a bit of onion powder.

The patties at Ron’s are smashed as thin as possible. While the meat is cooking, The bun is sitting on the grill with a pot lid over it, getting hot and steamy. The meat is grilled with minced onion. Mmmm.

When the burger was almost finished cooking, Ron would add pepper jack/colby mixed cheese and put the pot lid over the patty to get that cheese fully melted.

It’s plated on the bun with mustard, dill pickle, and diced raw onion.

Lastly, a big ladle of their award-winning chili is poured over the entire thing, plus an extra sprinkle of cheese. Pure genius, I’m telling you.

If you go to Ron’s to get one, be sure to order a chilled mug of Root Beer to go with it! And if you try making these at home, the Root Beer and burger together will get you a standing ovation from your family and friends.