Hoppin’ John

Black-eyed peas are a good luck dish for New Years, but since we were out of town on New Year’s Day I couldn’t make it until today. I was talking with Chelea at work about my project to cook many different beans and she suggested Hoppin’ John. I looked around and found this recipe at trusty Cook’s Country. I mean to say – we are cooking ham in bacon fat; how could that be anything but delicious? You can find the recipe here.

This is a pretty darn easy recipe to make with a limited set of ingredients. I don’t know why they are called black-eyed peas instead of black-eyed beans; they look way more like peas than beans to me. If you know, leave a comment.

4 cups chicken broth; 6 slices of bacon; 1pound of ham steak; 2 bags of frozen black-eyed peas, an onion, 2 celery stalks, 3 scallions; some garlic, spices and 1 1/2 cups of rice.
Ingredients ready for cooking.

Chop the bacon and sauté it for about 7 minutes; pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat.

Chop the bacon and sauté it over medium heat.

Here’s where it gets good; sauté the ham in the bacon fat!

Fry the ham in the bacon fat!

Save the meat for inclusion later.

Ham and bacon saved for later addtion.

Sauté the onion and celery about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and thyme and sauté until aromatic – about 30 seconds. Then add the broth, bay leaves,blackeye peas  and ham planks; bring to boil and simmer on low for 20 minutes

Simmer everything except the bacon, rice, and scallions.

Remove the ham planks, add the rice,

Rice added to the beans (er, peas)

Cover with a bit of aluminum foil right on the surface, cover and simmer for 20 minutes; twice during the 20 minutes remove the foil and stir a bit.

Simmer rice, beans, and broth with aluminum foil on the surface.

At the end of the 20 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and let sit off heat 10 more minutes; then stir in the bacon and cubed ham.

Ready to serve; bacon and ham added back in.

Dinner is served

Serve with hot sauce; we like Frank’s.

Using frozen peas and ham instead of ham hocks reduces the time and complexity of this dish. All you need to do is prep the ingredients and add them in the proper order. Check the recipe or Cook’s Country for details. I’d love to read your comments.

[Note: January 12, 2014. I’m downgrading this from four stars to three. It didn’t do well as left overs; it was much too dry. And I decided I’m not a huge fan of black eyed peas. I like pinto, black and small red beans much more.]

Rating: ★★3 out of 5 stars.

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