Tasty Tuesday: Hoppin’ John

by Elizabeth on January 4, 2011 · 3 comments

in recipes, side dishes

Black-eyed peas are practically a requirement for a southern new year’s celebration.  Black-peas bring luck and when served with some sort of greens (collards, turnip, cabbage – take your pick), you are assured good luck in life and money.  We like to serve some sort of pork with our peas and greens.  This year we decided to expand our pallets a little and make Ina Garten’s delicious pork tenderloin, roasted Brussels sprouts, and Hoppin’ John.
Hoppin’ John has its roots in West Africa and the simple dish of rice and beans was historically a staple food throughout much of the South.  Black-eyed peas occasionally show up on our table during the summer when you can get them freshly shelled at farmer’s markets.  Personally, I prefer lady peas or pink-eyes, but since black-eyed peas are a southern tradition for new years, they belong on our table. 
Hoppin’ John – adapted from All You
6 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup diced celery
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, if desired
2 cans (15 oz each) black-eyed peas, one drained, one not
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (not drained)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooked white rice
Spray a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Fry bacon until it’s beginning to crisp.  Add in onion and celery and sauté until soft and translucent, 5-8 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium-low if onion begins to brown.  Sprinkle with red pepper if using, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Stir to combine and add in tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Cook 30-45 minutes until the acidity has cooked out of the tomatoes.  Add both cans of peas and cook 30 minutes longer.  Check for seasonings and adjust as needed.  Serve over (or mixed with) cooked white rice.
Photo Credit
This year we roasted some Brussels sprouts instead of serving greens or cabbage (both of which I can’t stand – yuck!).  You can use this recipe from Ina Garten or my (very quick) recipe below. 
Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, brown ends and yellow outer leaves removed
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray a roasting pan with olive oil cooking spray.  Cut sprouts in half.  Toss in prepared pan with desired amount of olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. 
Do you serve anything special on New Year’s Day?
This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday and Delicious Dishes.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Reeni January 5, 2011 at 12:31 am

Can you believe I've never had black eyed peas? Something I need to change from the looks of this! Happy New Year and congratulations on your new house!


2 therese January 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm

You gave me a great idea for my journal post tonight 😉 Going to write it up right now actually…

But never mind that. With regards to THIS post of yours… I had a plate of lentils at 12:02 a.m. this New Years. I was already stuffed. Everyone was… but managed to down a bit so that I could start off the year with extra good luck. And I can't think of one person in that crowded room of family members that passed up this tradition 🙂

I've never heard of Hoppin' John. But I'm starting to appreciate the bean family a lot more. Will set it in my list of items to make! 🙂


3 Elizabeth January 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Reeni, I'm actually not surprised you've never had black-eyed peas before. They tend to be a southern thing as far as I can tell. But you should try them. Black-eyed peas actually tend to have the texture of a bean as opposed to a pea (like a green pea). If you are a fan of beans, I'm sure you'll like these.

Reese, glad you got your extra luck! And Hoppin' John is super southern I think. My research seemed to point to the idea that the general dish came from slaves and then spread. It's a cheap, easy meal so historically, it was popular with poorer families.


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