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Hoppin’ John for New Year’s Eve. December 31, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes.
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Silence Dogood here. Did you grow up with the New Year’s tradition that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Eve would bring good luck in the coming year? If so (or even if not), you might appreciate a few variations on that classic black-eyed pea recipe, Hoppin’ John, to add to your New Year’s repertoire. Choose your favorite or try ’em all!

The first is a down-and-dirty basic Hoppin’ John from that priceless cookbook, White Trash Cooking by Ernest Matthew Mickler:

               Hoppin’ John

1 cup raw cowpeas [aka black-eyed peas—Silence]

4 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup raw rice [aka uncooked rice—Silence]

4 slices bacon fried with 1 medium onion, chopped

Boil peas in salted water until tender. Add peas and 1 cup of the pea liquid to rice, bacon (with grease) and onion. Put in rice steamer or double-boiler and cook for 1 hour or until rice is thoroughly done. [Note: 1 cup of rice in my rice cooker only takes about 1/2 hour to cook.—Silence] Black-eyed peas or canned peas will work if they’re already cooked.

Here’s a spicier version from Miss Daisy Celebrates Tennessee by Daisy King. (Miss Daisy’s Tea Room in Franklin, Tennessee was one of my favorite restaurants when I lived down there.)

          Hot and Spicy Black-Eyed Peas

3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 17-ounce can black-eyed peas

1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped [Yikes—hard to chop undrained tomatoes! I think I’d buy a can of diced tomatoes if I were making this.—Silence]

about 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Assemble all ingredients and utensils. Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and saute onion and bell pepper; drain. Crumble bacon and reserve for later. In a saucepan, mix remaining ingredients and heat to boiling, then simmer for 20 minutes. Pour mixture into serving dish; sprinkle with bacon and parsley. Yield: 8 servings.

The third variation is from The El Paso Chile Company’s Texas Border Cookbook and is called Hoppin’ Juan (priceless!). Mind you, I’d make a few changes. I’d cut way back on the chiles—probably using just one the first time I made it, then upping the ante if I thought it could use more heat—and add a big diced sweet onion along with the green onions and garlic. If I didn’t feel like I had time to char, steam, peel, stem, and seed the chile(s), I might come up with a jarred version, or simply substitute some hot sauce (like my beloved Pickapeppa). But this recipe certainly sounds promising! Note that it’s vegetarian- and vegan-friendly.

        Hoppin’ Juan

6 long green chiles

1 1/2 cups black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed 

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

3 green onions, trimmed and sliced (about 1/2 cup)

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 cup cooked white rice

In the open flame of a gas burner or under a preheated broiler, roast the long green chiles, turning them, until they are lightly but evenly charred. Steam the chiles in a paper bag, or in a bowl covered with a plate, until cool. Rub away the burned peel. Stem and seed the chiles and coarsely chop them.

In a medium saucepan, cover the black-eyed peas with cold water. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, stir in the salt, and cook another 10 to 12 minutes, or until just tender. Drain. (The peas can be cooked up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate, covered.)

In a large skillet over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the green onions, garlic, and cumin and cook, covered, stirring once or twice, for 4 minutes. Stir in the chiles and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the black-eyed peas and the rice and cook, covered, stirring once or twice, until heated through. Adjust seasonings and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

The authors point out that this also makes an easy salad if you stir in 2 or 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, cool to room temperature, and sprinkle with minced fresh cilantro just before serving.

Okay, your turn! What’s your favorite recipe for black-eyed peas? Do you eat them for luck on New Year’s Eve? Let us hear from you!

            ‘Til next time,




1. pixilated2 - December 31, 2011

These are great recipes and I love black eyed peas! I also own White Trash Cookin. It is a great little cookbook and I love the pictures and stories about the people as much as I do the recipes! I want to try the Hoppin Juan sometime soon. I think it has flavors that my husband can appreciate, and perhaps will entice him to actually eat the Black Eyed Peas. Thank you for these, and Happy New Year! ~ Lynda

Happy New Year to you, too, Lynda! If you enjoy White Trash Cookin and haven’t yet encountered the truly deathless cookbooks of Ruby Ann Boxcar (start with Ruby Ann’s Down Home Trailer Park Cook Book) or the Sweet Potato Queens (start with The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love), you simply MUST get them. You’ll be in for a treat!

2. Julie - January 11, 2012

Silence, LOL! All this is grand, Y’all!

Thanks, Julie!!!

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