Hoppin’ John

“When I was growing up, one of my favorite meals was black-eyed peas, simmered with pork neck bones or a ham bone left over from Sunday dinner or a holiday meal, served over rice. Hoppin’ John was the name of one of my childhood favorite dishes. It was only later that I found out. As I grew older, I began to research the history of this simple rice-and-beans dish and asked around. One theory is that the name came from children “hoppin” around the dinner table. Another story involves John, a man who was ‘a-hoppin’ ‘when his wife pulled the dish from the stove.

Whatever you call it, the combination of stewed beans, salt-cured meat (here I use ham hock or slab bacon), and the added Cajun/Creole flair from the ‘holy trinity’ of onion, bell pepper, and celery is a quintessential Southern classic. Hoppin’ John is traditionally served on New Year’s Day with collard greens and cornbread, symbols of wealth and prosperity; a bowlful is meant to bring you good luck all year.” –Millie Peartree

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4-6 servings


Tbsp. vegetable oil (if using ham hock)


smoked ham hock or 8 oz. slab bacon, cut into 1/4 ” pieces


small onion, finely chopped


green bell pepper, finely chopped


celery stalk, finely chopped


garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/4

cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, drained


Tbsp. Cajun seasoning


tsp. dried thyme


bay leaf


cups low-sodium chicken broth or water


tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt

Cooked long-grain rice (such as Carolina) and thinly sliced scallions (for serving)


Step 1

If using ham hock, heat 2 Tbsp. Oil in a medium Dutch oven, or another heavy pot on medium-high. If using bacon, cook in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp, 8-10 minutes. Transfer bacon onto a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon. Take out only 2 tablespoons. Remove all fat from the pot.

Step 2

Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for about one minute.

Step 3

Add black-eyed peas, Cajun seasoning, dried thyme, bay leaf, and ham hock (if using), then pour in broth. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce heat. Allow peas to simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until tender, but not mushy.

Step 4

Drain pea mixture in a fine-mesh sieve; discard cooking liquid and bay leaf. Add pepper to the pea mixture. Return bacon to the pot, and stir to combine. Remove ham hock from the pot and allow to cool. Remove meat from bones and return it to the pot. Season with salt.

Step 5

Divide rice among bowls and top with a ladleful of peas. Sprinkle scallions on top.

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/hoppin-john, BonAppetit
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