Cooking with Joe – Hoppin’ John is not just for New Year’s good luck

Hoppin’ John – Black Eyed Peas at their best

Hoppin' John

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is a Southern good luck tradition.  Turnip or collard greens are also a part of the tradition and are plentiful in most Meat+3 Southern diners, and many Southern cooks prepare greens often.  But not the lowly black-eyed peas. Some don’t like the taste; you don’t see black-eyed peas in restaurants much; and legend has it that the peas were used as animal feed until the Civil War, and that the citizens of Vicksburg survived on black-eyed peas during the siege…but you can Google that.

I am here to share my rendition of the consummate black-eyed pea dish – Hoppin’ John (probably lots of legends about that name too..Google it.)  This is a hearty dish than can be served year round.  Goes great with greens and cornbread. There are hundreds of versions.  Here’s mine:

Joe’s Hoppin’ John

1 pound dry black eyed peas
1 medium onion
1  green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 can minced tomatoes and peppers (like Rotel®)
2 tsp Dry Italian seasoning
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 Tbs minced Garlic
2 tsp (or more) powdered Cajun seasoning (I like Konriko)
Tabasco Sauce to taste
4-6 cups cooked rice.

Wash and sort peas and soak in 8 cups of water for 8 hours, and pour off soaking water.  Boil hamhock for 20 minutes.  In a stock pot add all ingredients, except rice; stir, and add enough water to cover the mixture.  Bring to a slow boil and cook 45 minutes, then simmer for another 30 minutes. [Note: I was taught as a child to cook until the peas literally fell apart- if you like the texture of refried beans, cook it longer than instructed.]  When peas are tender, taste and add more seasonings as required.  Serve over rice, or mix in rice just before serving.

This can also be done in a crock pot.  I will append crock pot instructions to this post the next time I do it.


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