A New Year’s Family Treat: Hoppin’ John

Promised y’all a family treat. Many folks in the coastal South will be dining on Hoppin’ John this New Year’s Day. Hoppin’ John is a rice and black-eyed peas dish that originated in West Africa. Tradition has it that Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day will bring you good luck throughout the year. Can’t say for sure if that’s true, but I certainly don’t intend to go without to find out. The recipe is flexible but mine ends up a tad gummy–don’t want no soupy Hoppin John. Topped with sharp cheddar cheese and sprinkled liberally with hot sauce, it’s hard to beat, unless you serve jalapeno & cheese cornbread on the side.  BTW, this is one of those dishes that taste better the next day. (The pic’s not mine, but it’s close.) Enjoy. 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas that have soaked overnight

8 cups water, divided             2 teaspoons salt

1 tsp black pepper                   1 ham hock

5 slices of bacon                      1 large onion, chopped

2 cups medium-grain white rice, uncooked

1 teaspoon garlic powder    Sharp Cheddar cheese 

Directions  Over medium heat, place the dried black-eyed peas, 6 cups of water, salt and ham hock in a large pot. Cook covered over medium heat until tender. While the peas are cooking, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside, reserving the bacon grease. Sauté chopped onion in the bacon grease until soft. In a large-sized pot with a tight-fitting lid (iron if you have it), add the rice, 2 cups of the pea liquid, 2 cups of water, 2 cups of the cooked black-eyed peas, sautéed onions, bacon grease, garlic powder and crumbled bacon. Cook covered over medium-low heat until rice is done. If needed add more pea liquid if rice gets too dry. Top with cheese and serve with hot sauce and a skillet of corn bread.

Tomorrow, Romy Gemmell on New Years & Hogmanay in Scotland    Rita Bay

2 Comments

Filed under Holiday Celebrations

2 responses to “A New Year’s Family Treat: Hoppin’ John

  1. That’s an interesting recipe, Rita! We don’t have that here in Scotland.

    • Hey Romy, The American South has a mixed heritage. Hoppin’ John is one of many recipes that was brought here from West Africa by the slave trade. Mobile, in coastal Alabana, also has a French and Spanish heritage that is still evident today. Rita Bay

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