Hoppin’ John

By: The Local Palate
Hoppin John Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens Recipe for a Happy and Prosperous New Year
Photo by Jennifer Hair

Across the South, a way of ensuring good luck for the New Year is to tuck into a plate of hoppin’ john, a dish of nebulous origins, but that dates back at least to the early nineteenth century. Traditionally made with black-eyed peas that have been cooked with ham hock, hoppin’ john is often accompanied on New Year’s by collards (green means money) and cornbread (good as gold).

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6-8 servings

    Smoky Peas
  • ⅓ cup small diced celery
  • ⅓ cup small diced carrot
  • 1¼ cups small diced leeks
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • ⅓ cup small diced onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup Texas olive oil
  • Salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 quart smoked black-eyed peas, with their liquid*
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco
  • *Note: If you don’t have the time or inclination to smoke your own peas, used smoked sea salt or substitute smoked olive oil for regular.

  • Marinated Pole Beans
  • 3 cups pole beans, blanched and halved
  • ⅓ cup garlic chive, sliced thin
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1⅓ cups thinly sliced onion
  • ½ pound sungold tomatoes
  • 1¼ cups white wine
  • 1¼ cups olive oil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ⅓ cup fermented peppers (Olamaie suggests Trappy’s Hot Vinegar Peppers)

  • Carolina Gold Rice
  • ½ quart Carolina Gold Rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt

  • Marinated Eggs
  • 2 quarts B&B pickling liquid, strained, cooled (recipe follows)
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 15 eggs

  • B&B Pickling Liquid
  • 1 quart sugar
  • 1 quart apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 onion, sliced thin

  • To Assemble
  • Toasted benne seeds
  • Sliced scallion
  1. Remove marinated pole beans from refrigerator 1 hour before serving.
  2. Crisp ½ cup cooked rice in skillet over medium heat. Once crisp, spoon into bowl.
  3. While rice is crisping, warm smoky peas in their ‘likker and check for seasonings. Note: If you like it spicy, add more Tabasco.
  4. Heat marinated eggs in tepid water for few minutes, then place on top of rice. Spoon peas over and around egg. Spoon pole beans around sides of dish. Finish with benne and scallion.

Smoky Peas

  1. In a small rondeau, sweat vegetables and bay leaves in olive oil until tender. Season to taste.
  2. Add cooked peas and liquid to vegetables. Bring to simmer and add Tabasco. Let simmer on low for 15 minutes to marry all flavors. Taste and season as desired.
  3. Cool mixture before storing in 1-quart deli containers.

Marinated Pole Beans

  1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Carolina Gold Rice

  1. Rinse rice under cold running water until water runs clear.
  2. In small rondeau, bring rice and 1 quart water to boil with bay leaves. Season. Lower temperature to gentle simmer and cover for 7 minutes.
  3. After 7 minutes, stir rice. Cover and cook another 7 minutes over low heat.
  4. Remove rice from rondeau and spread on parchment-lined sheet tray. Let cool at room temperature and remove bay leaves.
  5. Taste and season as desired.

Marinated Eggs

  1. Bring large pot of water to boil over gas burner. Season with salt until it tastes like the sea and add baking soda.
  2. Once boiling, add eggs and boil for 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Remove eggs from water and place immediately in ice bath. Let cool completely.
  3. Peel each egg carefully and place in pickling liquid. Discard any eggs that tear. Note: You are making extra with this amount, so if a few tear, that is all right.
  4. Let eggs marinate for 5 hours. Remove from marinade and taste for seasoning.
  5. Hold in water until ready to use.

B&B Pickling Liquid

  1. Combine all of ingredients in small rondeau and bring to boil.
  2. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve.
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