Hoppin’ John – Black Eyed Peas at their best
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.