New Years Day is nearly here and there are some Southern Traditions I plan to uphold; one of them being Cajun Hopin’ John along with a few other delicious Old Southern traditions. Hopin John like most Southern foods has a rich history to be told…
Now, traditionalists may have a few words to say about my recipe, and that’s ok we all have our own specific traditions and family recipes we enjoy making. The original ingredients used to make Hoppin’ John were simple: one pound of bacon, one pint of peas, and one pint of rice.You couldn’t get any more straightforward or traditional than that back in the day.
In Sarah Rutledge’s The Carolina Housewife -1847, it’s important to know that everything was cooked together in the same pot. “First put on the peas, and when half boiled, add the bacon. When the peas are well boiled, throw in the rice, which must first be washed and gravelled. When the rice has been boiling half an hour, take the pot off the fire and put it on coals to steam, as in boiling rice alone.”
Traditionally Hoppin’ John was considered to be a Low Country menu item before becoming popular and spreading to the entire Southern region. Hoppin’ John is said to have evolved from the rice and bean mixtures that were made and consumed of enslaved West Africans en route to the America. Hoppin’ John has also been traced to similar menu items in West Africa, such as the Senegalese dish, thiebou niebe.
One common tradition here; is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to make sure that the coming year will be filled with luck, fortune, and romance. Another tradition holds that counting the number of peas in a serving predicts the amount of luck or wealth that one may expect have in the coming year. I’ll take any of traditional outcomes; personally, I could use luck, fortune, and plenty of romance in the coming year!
Happy upcoming New Year everyone from The McCallum Kitchen!
Cajun Hopin’ John
- 1 pound of black-eyed peas or field peas
- Water to soak beans overnight
- 1 tablespoon of bacon grease or oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 1 cup of thinly sliced celery
- 5 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
- 1-10-ounce can of diced tomatoes with chilis
- 6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound of uncooked andouille sausage or smoked sausage
- 1 ham hock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bouquet of fresh thyme
- 1/2 of a tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- a dash of hot sauce
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt, to own taste
- freshly ground pepper, to own taste
- 4 cups of already cooked white rice, less water method
- spring onions to garnish, optional
- Wash and rinse the dried field peas or black-eyed peas a few times before placing in a large pot to soak overnight, be sure the beans are covered -about 3 inches of excess water above the dried beans. Soak overnight or at least 8 hours before attempting to cook the dried black-eyed peas. Once peas have soaked drain and reserve in a colander till needed.
- Place a large stock pot or saucepan over medium heat; add 1 tablespoon of bacon grease or oil to the stock pot or saucepan, chopped yellow onion, thinly sliced celery, and sliced garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes.
- Next add 1 can of diced tomatoes with chilis, 6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, 1 pound of andouille sausage or smoked sausages, 1 ham hawk, bay leaves, 1 bouquet of fresh thyme, Cajun seasoning, dash of hot sauce, pinch of red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper to own taste. Reduce heat to low heat and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes hour or till black-eyed peas or field peas become softened and a creamy texture is noticed.
- Serve the Hopin’ John mixed in with the white steamed rice a side of collard greens and garnish with spring onions if desired.
© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch,2015-2014*2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material or photos without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. You may not copy and paste recipes to share on Social Platforms.