What’s Hoppin’ John you ask? Well it’s a main dish or, typically a side dish made mainly of black eyed peas, and traditionally eaten on New Years Day in the south. Growing up in Texas, we always ate ham and black eyed peas for dinner. It’s a good luck thing.
So, this New Years Day I’m creating for myself a big pot of good luck in the form of one of my favorite dishes; Hoppin John!
Even if I’m eating it in Wisconsin, it’s still good luck….right?
Hoppin’ John – Texas Style
- 1 lb. bag of dried black eyed peas
- 8 cups cool water
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ham bone with meat on it (if you made ham this year)
- 2 ham hocks
The Veggies and Stock
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion (coarsely chopped)
- 1 cup celery (diced) (about 3 stalks)
- 4 large cloves garlic (coarsely chopped)
- 5 cups water
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 to 4 cups cooked rice (white or brown) I prefer white rice for this dish
Preparing the dried beans:
- First thing you want to do is inspect the dried beans to make sure there are no small pebbles or any other debris. (Usually not, but good to be safe!)
- In a large bowl, place the dried peas, the 8 cups of water, the garlic powder and the salt together and mix to mostly dissolve the spices in the water. Let these soak for 6 hours.
- Once the peas are soaked, rinse and drain completely.
- Note: Watch the water level. If the peas soak up all the water, add more.
- Note: I like adding spices to the water to soak the spices into the peas as they soften and expand.
Preparing and cooking the dish:
- In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Now add in the 5 cups of water, the peas, bay leaf, salt, pepper, cumin and the ham bone, (or ham hocks). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot for 30 minutes. Be careful, continued boiling will cause the peas to burst, making mush! Simmer only!
- At this time, while the peas are cooking, cook the rice according to the instructions on the box and set aside. (I make the longer cooking rice and use the instructions for 6 servings).
- After the first 30 minutes, check the liquid consistency. Add more water if it's too thick. Remove the ham bone or ham hocks from the pot, pull off the meat, cutting the larger chunks into bite sized pieces and return only the meat to the pot.
- Remove the bay leaf and discard.
- Check the peas for tenderness. If still a little tough, continue simmering until the peas are tender to the bite. You don't want to over cook them.
- Once the peas are tender, if there is still too much liquid, you can strain off some of the excess. Pour the rice in with the peas, adding enough rice to achieve your desired consistency. (Some like it thick, and some like it nice and runny!) Just for the record, I typically pour off some of the excess liquid before adding the rice.
- Makes 8 to 12 servings.