Originally a Low Country food before spreading throughout the entire population of the south, Hoppin’ John has roots in the 19th century. It is a dish made of blackeyed peas, chopped onion, bacon (or ham), and served over rice. Eating it on New Year’s Day is said to bring a prosperous year filled with good fortune. Supposedly the blackeyed peas are symoblic of pennies, one of which is to be placed beneath the dinner bowl before serving. Is that charming, or what?
It is also very quick and easy to make (particularly if you make use of Melissa’s Blackeyed Peas that do not require soaking overnight). The recipe is really up to your own interpretation. Make them vegetarian, if you like, or add ham, as I did. I added the last bits of my HoneyBaked ham, and boy, oh boy, was this delicious.
1 tub Melissa’s Blackeyed Peas, cooked (see below)
1 medium onion, finely chopoped
½ cup diced ham
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ham base (I used L.B. Jamison)
2 teaspoons Low Sodium chicken base
2 cups water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooking the Blackeyed Peas
Bring 2-1/2 cups water to a rolling bowl in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the entire 11-oz. tub of blackeyed peas. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and bring to a gentle boil, and cook for 10 minutes. Drain peas; discard water. You are now ready to use them any way that you see fit – salads, soups, stews, casseroles.
Making the Hoppin’ John
In a 10” pan sauté onion and ham until tender. Stir in soup base mixes, seasonings, and cooked blackeyed peas. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Serve over rice, if desired, but I like them just the way they are.
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