Hoppin’ John

Hoppin John

Hoppin' John

Despite saying that I wasn’t going to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day this year, I broke down and made the traditional Southern dish of hoppin’ john. (I skipped the collards, though.) And I have to say, it was fantastic. As a bonus, I’ll have good luck this year due to eating black-eyed peas.

I was inspired to make hoppin’ john by some wonderful pepper-smoked slab bacon that I received as a Christmas gift. The bacon is what really made this dish. It was rich, smoky and hearty, probably the best hoppin’ john I have ever made. I had to call up my Dad, who gave me the bacon, right after dinner and thank him. Unfortunately, I threw away the wrapper and so now I don’t know where the bacon came from. If you plan to recreate this, do try to seek out a good-quality slab smoked bacon (not pre-sliced).

Hoppin’ john is an extremely simple dish to make, which means it’s a good choice for a weeknight dinner. Don’t save it just for New Year’s Day. Hoppin’ john is essentially another variant of the classic beans and rice combination. Most cultures have a version: red beans and rice from Louisiana, lentils and rice from the Middle East, black beans and rice from the Caribbean, to name a few. You can substitute other beans in this recipe and play with the seasonings to make any of the variants you choose. But please, don’t omit the bacon!

Hoppin’ John

Yields: 4 servings (leftovers can be frozen)
Time to make: ~45 minutes with frozen black-eyed peas

What you need:

  • 1½ cups frozen black-eyed peas, or the equivalent of dried peas, cooked, liquid reserved
  • ¼ lb. slab bacon, cubed
  • ¼ cup celery, chopped
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning or to taste
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup tomatoes, chopped, with their liquid
  • ½ cup chicken stock (or use reserved cooking liquid, if you cooked dried peas)
  • 1½ cups rice, cooked (I prefer the pilaf method)
  • Optional garnishes: hot sauce, fresh parsley, chopped red onion, grated cheese and/or sour cream
  1. Sauté the bacon, celery, onion and garlic in the oil until the bacon is crispy and the vegetables are golden, 10 minutes.
  2. Add the seasonings.
  3. Stir in the black-eyed peas, the tomatoes with their liquid and the chicken stock (or reserved pea-cooking liquid).
  4. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, until the peas are tender.
  5. Serve over the cooked rice.
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One thought on “Hoppin’ John

  1. A Simple Mushroom Salad « Simply Cooking 3 January 2010 at 1:05 pm

    […] Yesterday we went to my dad’s house for the traditional New Year’s Day meal of hoppin’ john and collards. I don’t know if it’s still good luck to eat these things on the second day […]

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