Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hoppin John’s

This is the final dish we served on New Years Day and the one of which I’m most pleased as I made it by adapting several recipes and it was delicious – my Mississippi friends thought so and even my Chicago transplant friends, who’d never eaten black eyed peas, enjoyed it. Most recipes I've seen for this meal have the greens served on the side with the rice either cooked in or topped with the peas, but I wanted a one pot meal that required very little attention during our little party.

Hoppin’ John’s
Adapted form several recipes but primarily Mary’s Black Eyed Peas at Deep Dish South

¼ cup olive oil
1 country ham hock
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound Kielbasa smoked sausage, halved lengthwise then cut crosswise into 3/8" slices
About 1½ quarts chicken broth, divided
1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
1 can Rotel
1 to 2 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed and chopped small, or to taste
Couple pinches of salt, or to taste
15 turns of the pepper grinder, or to taste
½ tsp Zaterain’s Creole Seasoning, or your favorite (more or less to taste)
½ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2 bay leaves
Additional water or chicken stock, if needed
1 cup rice of choice (more or less as desired - we used the whole grain we had on hand)
1 bunch of your favorite greens (about a pound), tough stems removed, washed, and shredded (we used kale).

Put oil in a large pot, add onion, celery, bell pepper and sauté until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add Kielbasa and lightly brown. Then slowly add one quart of stock, stirring to deglaze the pot as you do, and bring it up to a full boil. Add the ham hock, reduce heat and simmer for an hour (I did this several hours ahead).

Once this cooks, add the dried peas (or pre-soaked if you like), Rotel, jalapeno, salt, pepper, Cajun/Creole seasoning, cayenne, and bay leaves and bring it all to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and partially cover, cooking for about 1½ - 2 hours, or until peas are tender and creamy. Remove bay leaves and ham hock – remove meat from hock, chop, and add back to peas.

Meanwhile in another pot, cook the rice in chicken stock.  It could have been cooked with the peas, but this gave me better contol of the liquid amount.

Meanwhile (again), add a little olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium, heat and add as many greens as the pan will hold. As they wilt, turn them and add more until all have been wilted.

About 30 minutes prior to serving, stir greens and rice into the peas and again adjust liquid if needed and seasonings. I cooked the rice and greens several hours ahead of time.

When done cooking, I poured the finished dish into a slow cooker on warm and it required no more attention from me. I’m sure it could have been cooked entirely in the slow cooker, but since I didn’t know how long it would require and I wanted to serve them at a specific time, I used a pot on the cook top method. Serve them up with some hot cornbread and your luck is set for the year – I ate two helpings and another for breakfast the next day just to be sure.

With so many flavors, I believe this dish might even appeal to those who aren't big fans of  field peas and I don’t plan to wait a year to make it again.  The next time, I'll try collards and use more of them - since it was all mixed, I didn't want to have so many for the non-greens eaters.  Also, the rice fans would likely want lots more than I used.

Have a great day and now it’s another week of leftovers, but I don’t think I’ll be able to turn clam chowder or Hoppin Johns in to much else.



  1. I made mine this year totally simple. I adore black-eyed peas and didn't want too much to get in the way of their flavor.

  2. I've never heard of Hoppin John pre blogging life. I've done that too, put a cooked dish in the crockpot to steep. Done with Holiday leftovers? go eat some pasta...or a burger...or both! :-)

  3. Love the idea of making it all together like this - good for you creating your own recipe!

  4. I haven't had hoppin johns in years. When I was in college I would go to my friends parents house on occasion and they were from the south...they seem to always be eating hoppin johns!! lol

  5. This looks so much more delicious than any hopping john I've tried in the past. I love one pot meals for their ease and how good they smell while they are cooking.

  6. Larry, Both of us thought that this was a really tasty dish! Lots of flavor! Didn't even add Tabasco... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave & Laurie

  7. These were definitely a delicious way to ensure our luck and wealth for the New Year! I think you did a great job, and I'll definitely be giving this a shot myself sometime.

  8. I love, love this dish! It is definitely a Southern thing, never hear of it here but I learned to love it growing up in Louisville. Your mix of ingredients is fantastic and this is on my to do list! Great header!!!

  9. I've never made Hoppin John, but this looks really good-I'm going to try your version. Thanks!

  10. Hoppin John has never been something I could cook, because I'm allergic to peppers, and my dearly beloved can't stand black eyed peas. But most of the ingredients sure do sound like a tempting combination!

  11. Mine is very similar to yours, Larry... BUT--besides the Kielbasa, we add ham.... BUT--I had to laugh when I read your post.... Guess what I forgot to use when I made mine this year????? The HAM HOCK..... Ha ha ---I had one frozen JUST to use... AND--I forgot it... I did use bacon though and like you, lots of seasonings plus onions...

    I just leave mine on the stove all day on SIMMER... I hadn't thought about putting it in the slow cooker. I don't add the rice until the last hour or so --and cook the rice with the peas... I don't measure the rice --but just add enough so that the mixture thickens up nicely.

    I do NOT choose to put greens in ours though--other than 'green' pepper... ha

    And I always pre-soak my black-eyed-peas...

    It's mighty delicious, as I'm sure yours was also....

  12. That looks awesome Larry! And I love that you added some greens in with it. Thanks so much - I am honored to be a part of your New Years supper!

  13. Me mixed our hoppin' john with greens too, awesome stuff. Even Trevor at greens, shocking!


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