When you are down on your luck, do as Southerners do and start eating. This flavor filled comfort food will do more than fill your stomach, it will ensure your year is prosperous.
After last night’s episode of the HBO show Boardwalk Empire, people are left wondering what is Hoppin’ John? Although the dish originated in West Africa, it is the American South that gets the credit for the catchy name. The meal consisting primarily of rice and beans is often eaten on New Year’s Day and is thought to bring luck to those who eat it. I’ll consider myself lucky if I can just get a bite of this zesty Cajun fare.
There’s only one man I trust to make a dish called Hoppin’ John–Food Network star Emeril Lagasse so this recipe is adapted from his version. Gather up your butter loving friends and start practicing your drawls because no matter where you are from, you’ll love this Southern comfort food.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large ham hock
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
- 1 quart chicken stock
- Bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
- Salt, black pepper and cayenne to taste
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
- 3 cups steamed white rice
- Heat oil in a large soup pot, and sear all sides of the ham hock. Add the onion, celery, red pepper and garlic; cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the black-eyed peas, stock, thyme and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the peas are creamy and tender, stir occasionally. Add more stock if the mixture starts to look too dry.
- Add more salt, pepper, or cayenne if needed and garnish with green onions.
- Serve over rice.