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Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John

This old Southern dish takes the lowly black-eyed pea then mixes and mingles it with fluffy rice. Made using the “holy trinity” of Southern cooking – sweet onion, celery and bell pepper – Hoppin’ John is loaded with flavor making for the perfect bowl of comfort!

Being raised in Texas we held to the belief that for a bit of luck in the upcoming year one should eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day or at least the first week of the New Year. Though my Dad was never a big fan of this particular legume, feeling it was better left as feed for the livestock we made certain he had a bite or two just in case!

Hoppin’ John is blend of black-eyed peas and rice. But the trick to the flavor punch is packing the dish with beautiful aromatics of onion, celery, pepper and garlic along with fresh thyme. Start by rendering bacon, then simmer the peas in a rich chicken stock and an additional pop with a touch of Creole seasoning.

Start with fresh peas if you’re lucky enough to find them but if not, frozen black-eyed peas are now frequently available. Allow yourself plenty of time for the peas to cook and become very tender, about an hour. You can also cook the peas in advance then finish with the rice before you’re ready to serve.

There are two common methods when it comes to cooking the rice and finishing this dish. One version cooks the rice in the pan with peas and all the cooking stock resulting in more of a soup. In the second version, the rice is cooked separately using cooking stock skimmed from the peas, loading the rice with a mouth full of goodness.

Then the remaining stock is removed from the peas before the cooked rice is added into the peas. If you want more of a soup you can certainly leave the extra stock.

Hearty enough for a main dish or wonderful as a side, there’s no need to wait for New Year’s to make this soul-satisfying Southern classic – Hoppin’ John is wonderful any day of the year!

Hoppin’ John

This recipe makes a large batch – enough to easily feed six to eight.

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

8 slices of bacon, sliced into pieces

4 stalks celery chopped, about 1-3/4 cups

1 large sweet onion chopped, about 2 to 2-1/2 cups

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped, about 1-1/2 cups

4 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

8 cups chicken stock

2 packages fresh peas, 12-ounces each, about 4 cups – rinsed and sorted

1-1/2 cups Basmati or Jasmine rice

Fresh parsley for garnish

In a large stockpot heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pieces of bacon and cook until the bacon renders its fat and just starts to crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the chopped celery, sweet onion, bell pepper and garlic. Continue cooking over medium heat until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes.

Toss in the fresh thyme, kosher salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the peas are very tender – about 45 minutes to one hour.

In a medium saucepan heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the rice and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes to lightly toast the rice.

Skim off 3 cups of the cooking stock and add to the rice. Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Cook the rice for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. When the rice is cooked fluff it with a fork.

Drain the remaining liquid from the cooked peas and add the cooked rice, about 1 cup at a time. You can add all the rice if you like more rice to peas, less if you like more peas.

Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

You can reheat this dish in the oven by adding a bit of reserved cooking stock, cover and heat at 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Hoppin' John, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

January 2, 2019
: Makes 6 to 8 servings.

The lowly black-eyed pea mixes and mingles with fluffy rice making for the perfect bowl of comfort!

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 slices of bacon, sliced into pieces
  • 4 stalks celery chopped, about 1-3/4 cups
  • 1 large sweet onion chopped, about 2 to 2-1/2 cups
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped, about 1-1/2 cups
  • 4 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 packages fresh peas, 12-ounces each, about 4 cups – rinsed and sorted
  • 1-1/2 cups Basmati or Jasmine rice
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 In a large stockpot heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pieces of bacon and cook until the bacon renders its fat and just starts to crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Step 2 Add the chopped celery, sweet onion, bell pepper and garlic. Continue cooking over medium heat until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Step 3 Toss in the fresh thyme, kosher salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  • Step 4 Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the peas are very tender – about 45 minutes to one hour.
  • Step 5 In a medium saucepan heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the rice and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes to lightly toast the rice.
  • Step 6 Skim off 3 cups of the cooking stock and add to the rice. Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Cook the rice for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. When the rice is cooked fluff it with a fork.
  • Step 7 Drain the remaining liquid from the cooked peas and add the cooked rice, about 1 cup at a time. You can add all the rice if you like more rice to peas, less if you like more peas. If you want more of a soup just leave the extra cooking stock in the pan.
  • Step 8 Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
  • Step 9 You can reheat this dish in the oven by adding a bit of reserved cooking stock, cover and heat at 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes.


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