Hoppin' John

Posted by Donna-Marie Pye on

A classic Southern dish to celebrate New Year's. The black-eyed peas are for good fortune in the coming year.



  • 1/3 pound bacon, or 1 ham hock plus 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepperdiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces dried black-eyed peas (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • heaping teaspoon Cajun seasoning 
  • Salt
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • Scallions or green onions, chopped, for garnish
  • Cooked collard greens, kale, beet tops, or turnip greens, for serving


    1. If you are using bacon, cut it into small pieces and cook it slowly in a medium pot over medium-low heat. If you are using a ham hock, heat the oil in the pot. Once the bacon is crispy (or the oil is hot if you are using a ham hock and not bacon), increase the heat to medium-high and add the celery, onion, and green pepper and saute until they begin to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes
    2. Add the black-eyed peas, bay leaf, thyme, and Cajun seasoning and cover with 4 cups of water. If you are using the ham hock, add it to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, (less time or more depending on the freshness of the black-eyed peas) until the peas are tender (not mushy).
    3. While the black-eyed peas are cooking, cook the rice separately. Set aside to keep warm.
    4. When the black-eyed peas are tender, strain out the remaining cooking water. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the black-eyed peas for salt and add if needed. If using a ham hock, remove it from the pot, pull off the meat, and return the meat to the pot.
    5. Serve the dish either by placing a ladle-full of black-eyed peas over steamed rice, or by mixing the two together in a large bowl. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve with collard greens, kale, beet tops, or turnip greens.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Vegetarian Version: 

  • Instead of bacon fat, use your favourite cooking oil and saute some sliced mushrooms to add more umami and a bit of smoky flavour.
  • To add more smokiness, try seasoning with smoked salt or a smoked paprika, add some fire-roasted tomatoes, and/or add a bit of liquid smoke to the dish.
  • You can eliminate the pork and use a vegetable-based stock/broth to cook the black-eyed peas.

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