Another New Year’s Day tradition in the South is eating Hoppin’ John for dinner. Hoppin’ John is basically nothing more than cooked Black-Eyed Peas served over white or brown rice. Some folks also like to serve Hoppin’ John with a side of cooked turnip or collard greens and a piece of cornbread to soak up all the delicious juices.
Eating Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day is thought to bring prosperity and good luck in the year ahead. Hoppin’ John is also great for “Meatless Mondays” and one of my husband’s favorite meals. If you have never had it, you are in for a treat. Because it’s made with Black-Eyed Peas, it’s nutritious as well as delicious. Just one serving of Hoppin’ John is loaded with all things good for you including protein, iron, Vitamin A, potassium, folate and dietary fiber. Oh, and did I mention it’s really delicious!
The recipe for Hoppin’ John is easy, simply make my Southern Black-Eyed Peas and serve it over rice!
Another recipe which I will be posting shortly that works to welcome in the New Year also utilizes my Southern Black-Eyed Peas recipe. Black-Eyed Pea Hummus is a Southern and delicious twist on regular hummus made with chickpeas. Black-Eyed Pea Hummus uses leftover Southern Black-Eyed Peas or to make it really easy, you can also substitute canned black-eyed peas in this recipe.
The ingredient list for Hoppin’ John is the same as my Southern Black-Eyed Peas recipe. It starts with a bag of dried black-eyed peas. Of course, you can also substitute fresh black-eyed peas if you can find them or frozen peas. Do not substitute canned black-eyed peas. You will also need cooked ham, ham hocks, or ham shanks, chicken broth, onion, red wine vinegar, fresh garlic, crushed red pepper, kosher salt and ground black pepper. Also, you will need 3 cups of cooked white or brown rice. Optionally, you can also spice things up a bit and add any or all of the following ingredients to the peas while the peas are cooking: a can of diced tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies, a bell pepper which has been seeded and chopped, and two chopped celery ribs. The flavor variations are endless.
Before you begin cooking with the dried peas, you need to rehydrate them using one of two methods.
The first is to soak them overnight by placing the peas in a bowl or pot of cold water and allowing them to stand 6-8 hours. Then the peas need to be drained and rinsed with fresh water. At this point, the peas are ready to cook.
If you are in a hurry, you can also use the quick-soak method. To use this method, add the peas to a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat, cover with water and bring to a rapid boil. Continue boiling the peas for two more minutes. Remove the peas from the heat, cover and let sit for at least an hour. Then drain and rinse with fresh water.
For both of these methods, keep an eye on the peas and add more water, if needed, to keep the peas covered in water while they rehydrate.
When you are ready to make Southern Black-Eyed Peas, rehydrate the peas using the quick-soak method or overnight soak method. Drain and rinse the peas.
Add the olive oil to a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and ham and saute until the onions are tender, which should take 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute about 1 minute.
Add the peas, chicken stock, red wine vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes. If desired, add any or all of the optional ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let the peas simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until they are tender.
Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately over hot cooked white or brown rice. If desired, garnish with parsley or chives.