(American rice and black-eyed peas)
Hoppin' John is an old Southern dish, especially popular in South Carolina. No one really knows how it came by its name, but its culinary roots seem to stretch back to Africa. It is traditionally eaten as part of a New Year's Day meal, since black-eyed peas supposedly bring good luck. For maximum luck, eat Hoppin' John immediately after midnight along with a side of greens.
6 to 8 servings
- Salt pork, chopped finely -- 2 to 3 tablespoons
- Onion, minced -- 1
- Rice -- 1 1/2 cups
- Water or stock -- 3 cups
- Black-eyed peas, cooked, drained and rinsed -- 2 cups
- Ham hock -- 1
- Bay leaf -- 1
- Thyme -- 1 teaspoon
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Heat the salt pork in a large pot over medium heat and cook until it renders its fat and becomes a little crispy. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Stir in the rice and saute for another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and let simmer for 15 to 18 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let rest, covered, another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve with bottled hot sauce for seasoning.
Hoppin' John Variations
- Vegetarian Version: Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in place of the salt pork and eliminate the ham hock.
- Many recipes call for chopped bacon instead of salt pork.
- Instead of the ham hock, substitute 1 1/2 cups of cubed ham or chopped sausages if you like.
- Some recipes call for the rice and beans to be cooked separately, then mixed together at the end.