Where in NYC to find the special beans?
December 29, 2016 11:29 PM   Subscribe

I've decided the New Year's Day meal will be a simple Hopping John because of its associations with luck and wealth and folkloric good fortune. I've read this on the history of it and why it doesn't usually tun out well because of the inferior ingredients used now. I don't have time to order artisanal gold Carolina Rice or heritage red cowpeas from here so where in NYC can I find thier equilvents?

In short, I am looking for:

1) non-aromatic long grain rice that cooks up firm and in dinstinct grains
2) a hearty firm bean with a smoked and complex flavor, fresh or dried. No tins.

Greens and old fashioned smoked bacon I have sources for.
posted by The Whelk to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We always make it with black-eyed peas and the frozen ones work just fine. Formaggio Kitchen sells the rice--you might want to call first.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:52 PM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Regarding beans...

I'm sorry that I have to recommend you call Dean and Deluca. Just to be sure.

On 6th Ave there is a Citarella. CALL THEM. They may be your jam. My Dean and Deluca/Citarella story is this: Once upon a time I had a $10k budget for a contracted event during hella hot months. The Dean and Deluca folks (a block from my house) treated me shit because I looked tired and sweaty after a day sourcing goods. I trained it to Citarella over on 6th Ave and they treated me GOLD. They even delivered to me before delivery that far was an option. Just for a measle Terrine! They got $9,800 of my budget for the rest of that week. Fuck Dean and Deluca. I could afford to live in their zipcode and they treated me like shit. Only go there if you have to.

Call Fairway Market. Visit Grand Central Market in person.

Regarding rice... I can't make long grain rice the way you describe, and I used to cook professionally. I don't think freshness is that big of an issue compared to type of rice. My Basmati is superb, and my sushi rice is so perfect it will make you cry with joy. But I can't cook long grain rice the way you describe....

My husband used to work FOF at a local restaurant that made long grain rice the way you describe. If you memail me, I'm willing to revisit that technique with the back of the house at that restaurant personally to give you THE BEST RECIPE. My solve for this is just not to cook long grain rice. Give me a reason. I'll be pushy and find out how it's done!!
posted by jbenben at 12:17 AM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

Would also call Marlow & Daughters, Brooklyn Larder.

SOS chefs probably has some kind of pea but not anson mills. Will have a good rice option as well.

Having said that. I have both these products in my Manhattan kitchen. The bag of peas is open tho.

The rice is really wonderful and I think far more of an improvement over commodity products. The peas, don't get me wrong, very good, but I would probably not buy them again. I prefer the rancho gordo products by a sizeable margin. Formaggio carries some of that line as well.

If you do an anson mills order get the oatmeal btw.
posted by JPD at 3:25 AM on December 30, 2016

For beans you want, without a doubt, Rancho Gordo brand heirloom beans. I follow the Essex Street Market on Instagram and they were literally advertising RG beans for hoppin John this week. Go there, buy those beans, feel bad for all the people eating Goya-from-a-can.

Rice is maybe harder, kalustyans would be my first choice pick for a spot likely to have some Carolina gold in stock but maybe call them first to confirm?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 6:56 AM on December 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

My family has been doing Hoppin' John for decades, and they do not give a shit about artisanal rice or heritage beans. Long grain store-brand and black-eyed peas work just fine--the flavors from the greens and bacon make up for it (and they're quite prosperous as well, in case you were worried about efficacy as well as authenticity).

Source: I posted a similar question to Facebook last NYE and got a call from my mother kindly but firmly explaining why I was wrong.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:14 AM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

Prosperity had nothing to do with their choices. Up until recently it was basically impossible to source these ingredients.

Really just comparing the rices you'll realize you are wrong.
posted by JPD at 7:24 AM on December 30, 2016

I'm with infinitewindow--we're also from the South and always do black-eyed peas (although the rice is usually done separately, probably because Asian tradition) on New Year's Day and it's always good. How can beans cooked with smoked pork not be? I love and trust Serious Eats, but I believe they do usually complicate things, and you have to decide if you're OK with that when you reach for them. To me, this is a meal made of necessity and frugality, eaten joyfully, and a boroughs-wide imported bean search seems kind of...too much for that, you know? Are there no black-eyed peas at wherever you usually shop for groceries? Although I totally respect you wanting to elevate the dish, just pointing out you don't have to for it to be good and have meaning.

If you're looking for firm, distinct grains, you may look into parboiled rice. This is not the same as instant/minute rice, it's an ancient process of steaming rice in the husk which drives in nutrients and also changes the chemical structure of the starches in the rice which makes the texture slightly different. (It even makes the color slightly golden, which you may like, given your rice search.) Also most likely at your normal grocer.
posted by spelunkingplato at 8:06 AM on December 30, 2016

It's certainly 'just fine' with black eyed peas and uncle ben's but I've also had it with the heirloom varieties and it was noticeably better. Simple dishes depend on good raw ingredients.

You've probably seen it from the googles but here is a recent article. I'll be grabbing my stuff at the hipster farmers market tomorrow morning.
posted by ftm at 8:44 AM on December 30, 2016

Seconding Essex Street Market and Rancho Gordo beans. It would astound me if you couldn't find both items there.
posted by jferg at 9:35 AM on December 30, 2016

I heartily endorse the Rancho Gordo recommendation! All of their beans I've had have been great. They even appear to be on this hoppin' john trend because they're now promoting special "lucky 2017" black eyed peas on their website.

Speaking of the website, it has a "where to shop" page that indicates several places in Manhattan and Brooklyn that carry their products. Good luck!
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 10:07 AM on December 30, 2016

Kalyustan's, while technically having a South Asian/Middle Eastern focus, has a very wide range of beans and rices, and I would be especially surprised if they didn't have whatever rice you decided on. You can get those Rancho Gordo beans even at Whole Foods around here (sorry! this is wrong! I just remembered where I actually saw them several times recently, it was Eataly, not WF).
posted by praemunire at 11:53 AM on December 30, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks everyone I found everything I needed at foragers The Gourmet grocery shop in Chelsea!
posted by The Whelk at 11:29 AM on December 31, 2016

Response by poster: Quite nutty and smoked, not a mush
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 AM on January 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

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