Hoppin’ John! A classic Southern dish to celebrate New Year’s. The black-eyed peas are for good fortune in the coming year. Don’t save it for one specific day a year, it’s delicious and filling.
- 1/3 pound bacon, or 1 ham hock plus 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas, about 1 1/4 cups
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 heaping teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- Scallions or green onions for garnish
- Cook the celery, onion, green pepper base: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 sauté until they begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Cook the black-eyed peas and seasonings: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 it to a simmer. Cook for an hour to an hour and a half, (less time or more depending on the freshness of the black-eyed peas) until the peas are tender (not mushy).
- Cook the rice:While the black-eyed peas are cooking, cook the rice separately according to package instructions.
- Strain cooking water from peas, adjust the seasoning: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 more if needed. If using a ham hock, remove it from the pot, pull off the meat, and return the meat to the pot.
- Serve: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 or turnip greens.