Live Real. Eat Real.

Hoppin’ John

Hoppin' JohnNo Random Tuesday Thoughts this week.  Perhaps I’m just losing my randomness?

Nah.

Actually, I think I’m suffering slightly from blog-burnout, a lingering after-affect of blogging every day last month, then continuing to blog every weekday this month.  I don’t think I’m losing my mojo – it’s just tired and needs a break.  I think I’ll give it one next weekend when we go to Hocking Hills, and won’t post Friday through Monday.

At any rate, while thinking about what I would write about today, I started thinking about the weather (cool and wet – Fall is definitely here) and dinner, which should go with the cool, wet weather.  With Beloved out of town for more than a week, I am going to have to just cook for myself; if I let The Young One choose the menu like I did last night, we’ll end up eating chicken nuggets or pizza rolls with carrot and celery sticks and mac ‘n’ cheese every night (while watching 3 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD – but hey, we had a nice evening).  So, tonight I’m making this:

Hoppin’ John.

If you asked Oldest Son what his favorite dish is, he’d probably come back with “Spinach-stuffed pork loin with fruit sauce” (another recipe I’ll have to post soon) accompanied by this simple casserole of black-eyed peas and rice.  Hoppin’ John is fairly ubiquitous in the South and is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day; in our house, it’s served far more often.  Growing up, my mother made this with canned black-eyed peas and Minute rice and while instant rice is not allowed in my home, I’ve made it upon occasion with the canned peas.  However, having said that, it is best made with dried peas and since black-eyed peas require no soaking and cook up fairly quickly (compared to other dried beans, which is what black-eyed peas really are) you can have this dish on the table in fairly short order.  It’s a great side dish for pork – which is how Oldest Son prefers it – or by itself with just some hot, buttered corn bread on the side.  For me, it personifies comfort food.

This is a very basic recipe; you can jazz this up just about any way you like, and add bell peppers and celery to the onion, throw in some tomatoes, substitute the bacon with salt pork or a small hamhock (pick the meat off that hock and add it back in before serving!) or a good, spicy smoked sausage like Andouille.  It can be made vegetarian by leaving the meat out all together and spicing it up with some cumin, cayenne or thyme and bay leaf.

Hoppin’ John

makes 4 – 6 main dish servings, or 8 side dish servings

6 thick slices of bacon, chopped

one medium onion, chopped

1 cup dried black-eyed peas

5 – 6 cups water

1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice

Sort and rinse the black-eyed peas.  Fry the bacon in a large saucepan (or small pot) over medium heat until almost crisp; remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.  Lower the heat and saute the onion in the bacon fat in the saucepan until soft and almost translucent.

Return the bacon to the saucepan and add the peas.  Pour in the water and remove any peas that float to the top.  Gently boil the black-eyed peas, uncovered, until tender but not mushy – about 1 1/2 hours – and about 2 cups liquid remain.  Add the rice to the pot, stir, cover, and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, never lifting the lid.

Remove from the heat and allow to steam, still covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove the cover, fluff with a fork, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


21 comments

Jane Gaston says:

Whoa, did I miss Thanksgiving and Christmas? I knew things were rushing by way too fast, but damn, not that fast! ;-)

Hopping John is a true southern dish that you must have on New Year’s Day to bring good luck for the upcoming 364, right?
.-= Jane Gaston´s last blog ..The Chiropractor That Never Was: Part I =-.

I’ve never heard of this? WTF? Maybe because I live in Orange County and not the south?
.-= Twenty Four At Heart´s last blog ..Beating the Heat in Laguna =-.

LPC says:

I think combos of rice and various bean thingies are dishes good for the soul.
.-= LPC´s last blog ..4 Kitchen Tricks To Know Before You Turn 50 =-.

Erin says:

I have never heard of this dish, since I am a yankee and also food-shy. My boy would *love* this.
Although I let him choose last night and it was chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese.
Right there w/ you in the blogging burnout.

Pseudo says:

I love black eyed peas. And I really think you have the best recipes Jan.

In Hawaii, with the Asian influence, New Year’s calls for noodles for good fortune.
.-= Pseudo´s last blog ..Angels =-.

Michele says:

I’ve never been a black-eyed peas fan (probably the school lunch side dish in Okla ruined it for me) but I’ll give it one more time as a grown up. Well, or as grown up as I’ll ever get.
.-= Michele´s last blog ..RTT – You got Bacon in my Chocolate =-.

Mm, take out the bacon and I’ll eat it. Totally.
.-= Sprite’s Keeper´s last blog ..RTT: Atoning it all in one fell swoop.. =-.

Over here is North Cackalacky we serve Hoppin’ John a bit different. We put the black eyed peas on top of the rice, like a gravy. Then we douse the whole works with Texas Pete.
.-= Ginger@When Ginger snaps…´s last blog ..I Heart Blue Eyes =-.

stoneskin says:

I would LOVE to have chicken nuggets every day.

1. I love that your “About Me” section started out with “I’m cold.” I soooo feel you on that one. I am cold, too. I miss Texas. Cold. It’s cold here.

2. When my husband is gone, I miss him. But I am also happy that I can make a supper of beans (on his list of Don’ts) or just an apple and peanut butter (another Don’t) or cereal (a Don’t because you can’t drink wine or beer with cereal). I am also happy that I can go to bed before 11.
.-= class factotum´s last blog ..Chats du jour: Underprivileged cats with no toys =-.

rubbish says:

I never knew Back Eyed Peas actually existed and are not just the name of a band. Learn something everyday.
.-= rubbish´s last blog ..Never leave home =-.

vodkamom says:

Can’t you just come over and make it for me? It’s just so much EASIER that way.

Mama Badger says:

Really, o and I will be over. PB and LG will be staying far from your beans… I love hopping john. I use some andouli sausage instead of bacon, though. Mmmmm. I’ll admitt, pizza rolls and “nuggetsaurs” (chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs) have been pretty popular around our house for the last 3 weeks. Nothing wrong with that.

Beth says:

Black eyed peas are my favorite! My oldest son called them “fighting peas” when he was a wee lad. :)

I love your southern-ness!
.-= Beth´s last blog ..There is one less deranged bird in the world but please don’t call me Ozzy =-.

Lori says:

This sounds delicious! I totally understand burning out….right now it feels like my life has become out of control…between therepy appointments and feeling like shit and still trying to work and then actually staying on top of this mommy gig and trying to get ready for a wedding this coming weekend….. which honestly I am not doing such a great job keeping all of this together. This is actualy my first time in the blog world in a long time….not because I don’t want to but because I can’t. I really miss reading you and everyone else…I actually feel lost…lol….all of this to say that once I catch my breath I must try making this. Love and hugs, Lori
.-= Lori´s last blog ..Differences =-.

I could see me loving this if I added Eckrich sausage and jalapenos. mmmm…mmm….good! But it’s got to get cold here first. Right now it’s almost 90′s.
.-= Midlife Slices´s last blog ..Hello? Anyone Still Here? =-.

Be says:

“Fighting Peas” – I love that and have a new name for them! And I see no reason to not have cereal with beer or wine? Why not? I might even pour the later or the former!

Never heard of this either. Sounds easy and I love anything with rice.
.-= Maureen@IslandRoar´s last blog ..Star Light, Star Bright… =-.

A Free Man says:

Mmm, love hoppin’ john. And like you say, it isn’t just for New Year’s anymore!
.-= A Free Man´s last blog ..I have to sing about the book I read =-.

I was just thinking about making hoppin’ john for dinner this week and needed a recipe! THanks!

[...] like for dinner.  This dish is always requested by Oldest Son, who likes it accompanied by Hoppin’ John.  It may sound odd, pairing this rather sophisticated dish with such a humble side, but they go [...]

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