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A blue pot half filled with cooked hoppin john black eyed peas.
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5 from 1 vote

Hoppin' John - New Year's Day Black Eyed Peas

Hoppin' John is as southern as it gets - creamy black-eyed peas cooked with bacon, onions, and garlic - served with a side of homemade cornbread and collard greens.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Cajun, Southern
Keyword: black eyed peas, hoppin john, new years day black eyed peas
Servings: 6
Calories: 448kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon, hickory smoked and thickly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups celery diced (~4 stalks)
  • 1 ½ cups yellow onion diced (~2 medium sized onions)
  • 1 ½ cups green bell pepper diced (~2 small peppers)
  • 3 - 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound black eyed peas about 2 ½ cups dried
  • 8 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 ham hock
  • 2 bay leaves

For Serving

Instructions

  • Begin by dicing the bacon, onions, peppers, celery, and garlic.
  • Heat a medium-sized pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Add bacon and cook until just about crispy.
  • Then add onions, celery, and green bell pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent, then add minced garlic and cook for 1 - 2 minutes - you don't want the garlic to burn, just get aromatic.
  • Now add the thyme, kosher salt, and Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning and toss to coat the vegetables.
  • Next, add the black-eyed peas (rinsed and picked through for bad beans and rocks - but not soaked at all) and stir. (Pictures 5 - 6)
  • Add ham hock, then cover with chicken broth. (Pictures 7 - 9) Stir, then add bay leaves. (Picture 10)
  • Now, bring broth to a rolling boil and stir. Then decrease heat and keep the beans at a low simmer for an hour to an hour and a half. (Tip: Toward the end of the cooking time, cook white rice according to the package directions - or use an Instant Pot to make Perfect White Rice. )
  • Remove the Hoppin' John from heat when the beans are cooked but not mushy.

Notes

This recipe serves 8 - 10 as a side dish or 4 - 6 as the main course. 
🍳 Serving Suggestions & Uses
Serve on New Years Day - or really any day - with a side of collard greens and homemade cornbread. It is a cheap meal - and delicious one - that will bring you prosperity and health in the New Year! I think we need as many people as possible to give this a try - we need it after this year!
🥫 Storage/Shelf Life/Reheating
Once cooled, store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week, though Hoppin' John is best eaten within 5 days. These black-eyed peas also freeze really well and can be reheated quickly on the stove if you make too many and get sick of them or if you want to make them in advance. Like most Southern dishes, they seem to be even better leftover.
📋 Tips
  • Use dried black-eyed peas when making any kind of Southern black eyed-peas. They absorb so much more of their cooking liquid and develop so much flavor, without getting overly mushy.
  • Increasing the amount of garlic that you use will only make this recipe better.
  • Do not overcook black-eyed peas - they are much better with a little firmness.
  • Add leftover ham or diced andouille sausage to take this recipe to the next level!
🍴Recipe Variations
Some fun things you can add to your Hoppin' John are diced and cooked Andouille sausage or leftover ham. You can also add a can of diced tomatoes, but only add them at the end of the cooking time - when you have about 15 minutes left.
🙋‍♂️ Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use canned black-eyed peas to make Hoppin' John?
Canned black-eyed peas are likely what makes so many people think that black-eyed peas are disgusting. (Myself included.) They have no flavor and just have this undesirably chalky texture. Dried peas develop so many layers of flavor when cooked in a seasoned broth - it is like a completely different food.
How do you make vegan or vegetarian Hoppin' John?
Absolutely. Just use a bit of oil in place of the grease from the bacon to saute the vegetables, then use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock. If you are missing the meaty, smoky flavor of traditional Hoppin' John, you can add a splash of vegan Worchestershire sauce or liquid smoke. (It won't be as good as the ham hock/bacon version, but it will do the trick!)
Does Black Eyed Peas the Band have anything to do with Black-Eyed Peas the Food?
Please let me know if you can figure it out. I did some research and could not find anything remotely helpful about the significance of the name. (Does anyone want to ask Fergie for me and find out why they chose that name?)
Are Black-Eyed Peas beans or peas?
Known for their small black spot, black-eyed peas are actually a bean. They
Should you soak black-eyed peas before making Hoppin' John?
No. Not at all. Hoppin' John will have the most flavor if the beans cook fully in the broth. Since they are so small, they cook fast and will absorb the taste of whatever they are soaked in.
What can you use in place of a ham hock?
You can use smoked turkey legs, hog jowls, or neck bones. You can also use the leftover bone from your Christmas ham and add the leftover ham to the Hoppin' John. (This won't be as smoky but it will be really good!)
What do I do if I oversalted?
Too salty? Slice some red potatoes into thin medallions and lay them over the beans while they simmer and remove them when they start to get soft. The potatoes will suck up the salt. Don't throw them away though, they will be really delicious and are a good alternative to serve to people who don't like rice!
What can you use in place of Tony's Creole Seasoning?
If you don't have any Tony's, you can use Slap Ya Mama if you have it or make your own Cajun Seasoning - I have a recipe here. Worst case scenario, just add a pinch of cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and a little extra salt.
How many cups of cooked beans does 1 pound of dried black-eyed peas yield?
1 pound of dried black-eyed peas is around 2.5 cups and it yields around 5.5 cups of cooked beans.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 2009mg | Potassium: 845mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 5mg