“When I was growing up, one of my favorite meals was black-eyed peas, simmered with pork neck bones or a ham bone left over from Sunday dinner or a holiday meal, served over rice. It wasn’t until later in life that I discovered one of my childhood favorites had a name: Hoppin’ John. As I got older I started to do some research and ask around about how this simple rice and beans dish received its infamous name. Some say the name comes from children ‘hoppin’ ’ around the dinner table; another story tells of a man named John who came ‘a-hoppin’ ’ when his wife took the dish from the stove.
Whatever you call it, the combination of stewed beans, salt-cured meat (here I use ham hock or slab bacon), and the added Cajun/Creole flair from the ‘holy trinity’ of onion, bell pepper, and celery is a quintessential Southern classic. Hoppin’ John is traditionally served on New Year’s Day with collard greens and cornbread, symbols of wealth and prosperity; a bowlful is meant to bring you good luck all year.” — Millie Peartree
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (if using ham hock)
1 smoked ham hock or 8 oz. slab bacon, cut into ¼” pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1¼ cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, drained
1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cooked long-grain rice (such as Carolina) and thinly sliced scallions (for serving)
If using ham hock, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. If using bacon, cook in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp, 8–10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate. Carefully pour out all but 2 Tbsp. fat from pot.
Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add black-eyed peas, Cajun seasoning, dried thyme, bay leaf, and ham hock (if using), then pour in broth. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and cover pot. Simmer until peas are tender but not mushy, 1–1½ hours.
Drain pea mixture in a fine-mesh sieve; discard cooking liquid and bay leaf. Return pea mixture to pot, add pepper. If using bacon, return to pot and stir to combine. If using ham hock, remove from pot and let cool slightly. Pull meat from bone and return to pot; discard bone. Taste and season with salt.
Divide rice among bowls and top with a ladleful of peas. Scatter scallions over.
Read the original article on Bon Appetit