When I got my assignment for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I have to admit that my first thought was, “Oh, my gosh. What in the world am I going to do with this? ” That’s because my assigned blog was called We Heart Vegan and as y’all know I’m about as opposite from a vegan as night is from day! It’s no secret to anyone that I believe bacon is what they greet you with when you arrive in Heaven and if I had to choose one thing for my last meal it would be a perfectly cooked ribeye steak. But I was trying to keep an open mind and thought surely I could find something in common with a vegan blog. Surely. I read about the blog owners, two precious young ladies named Brittany and Julie, and I started going through the recipes. I have to tell you I was getting discouraged for a while. There were ingredients that I’d either never heard of or knew I’d have to make a one-hour round trip to the nearest Whole Foods to find. It wasn’t looking good.
And then I found something familiar! Hoppin’ John!Why, there’s not a Southerner alive who hasn’t been eating Hoppin’ John since they came into the world! I was all set for the Secret Recipe Club challenge. And although an authentic Hoppin’ John would have smoked ham hocks in it and I did use chicken broth where Brittany and Julie used vegetable broth, I stuck pretty closely to their recipe.
Hoppin’ John is a old, traditional New Year’s Day dish eaten throughout the South. Served alongside greens of some sort, it represents good luck and prosperity for the new year. I can honestly say that I have eaten black eyed peas every New Year’s Day for my entire life. We take our traditions seriously in the South :-)
There are lots of theories about how the combination of peas and rice came to be known as Hoppin’ John. I don’t know which, if any, of them are true. I just know that this is honest, simple food that connects me to my roots. I also learned recently from Gwen at Bunky Cooks that the original components of Hoppin’ John were Carolina Gold Rice and Sea Island Red Peas. Not black-eyed peas. Sea Island Red Peas are pretty hard to find these days, but I did happen to have some Carolina Gold Rice from our recent trip to Charleston and I used it for this recipe. It was delicious!
Start your rice by bringing water, salt and butter to a boil. Add the rice, lower the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Keep warm until the peas are ready.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic in olive oil until the vegetables are very tender.
Add the peas, broth, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes or until the peas are completely heated through. Stir in the parsley.
Serve the peas over a bed of rice. Top with green onions and chopped tomato.
Other recipes for Hoppin’ John you might enjoy from around the internet:
- Hoppin’ John Slow Cooker recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking
- Hopping John Soup from Kalyn’s Kitchen
- The Well Seasoned Cook’s recipe for Hoppin’ John
- Hoppin’ John and Greens from Drick’s Rambling Cafe
- Paula Deen’s Hoppin’ John Recipe
What I was cooking…