Hoppin’ John is a traditional southern dish made from black-eyed peas, rice, and bacon or ham hocks, often flavored with onions, peppers, and other seasonings. It is typically served on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good luck and prosperity in the coming year.
To make Hoppin’ John, dried black-eyed peas are soaked overnight and then cooked with onion, bell pepper, and celery until tender. Bacon or ham hocks are often added for flavor and seasoning, along with garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and other herbs and spices. The peas are then served over a bed of rice, often accompanied by greens such as collard or turnip greens, and cornbread.
The origins of the name “Hoppin’ John” are uncertain, but it is believed to have come from the Creole French word “pois pigeons,” which means “pigeon peas,” a type of legume that is similar to black-eyed peas.
Hoppin’ John is a beloved dish in southern cuisine, and is often enjoyed throughout the year as a comforting and hearty meal. It is also a staple dish during the New Year’s holiday, where it is said to bring good fortune and prosperity to those who eat it.
PREPARATION TIME: 1 hour (including 30 minutes cook time)
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ham hock or ham bone
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup diced bacon or ham (optional)
- Rinse the black-eyed peas and pick out any small stones or debris.
- In a large pot, combine the black-eyed peas, broth, onion, garlic, ham hock or ham bone, thyme, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the peas are soft.
- Remove the ham hock or ham bone and set aside to cool.
- In a separate pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the rice and stir until it is evenly coated with oil.
- Add 2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
- Shred the cooled ham from the ham hock or ham bone and set aside.
- In a large serving dish, mix together the cooked black-eyed peas, cooked rice, and diced bacon or ham. Serve hot.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS OR ADDITIONAL TIPS:
- Serve Hoppin’ John as a main dish or side dish with cornbread and greens such as collard greens or turnip greens.
- You can also add diced onions, peppers, or hot sauce for additional flavor.
- Hoppin’ John is a traditional New Year’s Day dish in the Southern United States, believed to bring good luck for the coming year.