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Hoppin' John

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Serves 6

  • To learn more, read:
    How to Make Hoppin' John
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 120

In the South, eating Hoppin’ John—rice and black-eyed peas with pork—is supposed to bring luck (although no one’s quite sure why). Lucky or not, the hearty meal-in-a-bowl is the perfect way to start a new year. This dish is traditionally served with collard greens and cornbread.

For the black-eyed peas
  • 1 lb. (2 cups) dried black-eyed peas
  • 8 oz. hog jowl, salt pork, or bacon, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips, or 1 smoked ham hock and 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 large sweet or white onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 5 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the rice pilaf
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1 lb. (2 cups) long-grain rice, such as Carolina Gold, Jasmine, or Basmati
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • Jarred sliced banana peppers for garnish
  • Hot sauce for serving
Make the black-eyed peas

Place the peas in a large bowl. Pick through and discard any stones. Add cold water to cover by 2 inches and soak 8 to 24 hours. (For a quick soak, put the peas and water in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let soak for 1 hour.) Drain the peas, discarding the water.

Heat a 5- to 6-quart heavy-duty pot over medium heat. If using hog jowl, salt pork, or bacon, add it and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp and the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. If using a ham hock, heat the canola oil over medium heat.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and drained peas (and the ham hock, if using) and bring to a boil. Season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the peas are tender, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the pilaf

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty ovenproof pot over medium heat until foaming. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until coated with butter and translucent around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with 1 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the broth and stir. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and transfer to the oven.

Bake until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Serve the peas over the rice, garnished with the banana peppers. Pass the hot sauce on the side.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 870; Fat (g): fat g 38; Fat Calories (kcal): 340; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 15; Protein (g): protein g 30; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 104; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1030; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 45; Fiber (g): fiber g 15;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I am already planning a New Year's Day party for next with hoppin' John. A great, simple dish that can be slightly altered depending on what you have on hand. I added celery, used bacon in place of the jowl. Served it with fine cooking recipe for garlicky braised kale with sundried tomatoes, and roasted sweet potatoes with cilantro lime vineagrette. Yummy! Hopefully it brings me luck in 2014

This was easy to make and delicious. The rice was particularly nice and I'll make all my rice that way from now on!

This is a favorite in our family. My father was from the deep south and my grandmother would serve this meal with hot water cornbread (little fried cakes) and sweet potato roasted in the skin. By roasting the sweet potatoes in the skin the natural sugars would be amplified. Green tomato chow-chow would be used in place of the banana peppers. Delicious!!

Even though I live in the south, this was my first time having hoppin' john and both my husband and I were surprised at how much we liked it. Such an unassuming dish with so much flavor. You can read my full review at Taking On Magazines: http://bit.ly/VfldlD

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