Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hoppin' John

     Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck in the coming year is a Southern tradition.  As luck would have it, during the Civil War when Sherman raided the Confederate Army's food stores, his men left behind the salt pork and dried peas, just enough food for the Southern soldiers to survive the winter.  For the ultimate in good fortune, one must eat exactly 365 black-eyed peas, one for each day of the New Year.
     There are countless recipes for Hoppin' John, I liked this version from Food and Wine Magazine because it can be made in one pot.  I would suggest you prepare all your ingredients in advance and carry them outside on a tray, assembling the dish is easy if you have everything you need at hand.  Collard greens are usually slow-cooked over a long period of time however when they are sliced thinly and cooked with the rice, they are tender as can be and melt in your mouth delicious.  Just a quick tip, when you are cutting the greens, roll the tightly packed leaves together like a cigar and slice them cross-wise, it's called a chiffonade and will make your life a whole lot easier.
     If you're a vegetarian, use vegetable broth, omit the sausage and add a second can of black-eyed peas.  This really is an excellent recipe and a wonderful combination of flavors steeped in history and tradition.  If you can't venture outside to make this in your dutch oven, try it on your stove top. 
     Wishing you good luck, good health, happiness and many memorable meals with family and friends in the New Year!

Hoppin' John
3 Tblsp cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
4 scallions, white bulbs sliced and green tops cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large stalk of celery, minced
1/2 lb collard greens, tough stems removed, leaves washed well and shredded
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 lb kielbasa or other smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
1 15 oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Over a full compliment of coals, saute onions, celery and scallion bulbs in oil, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
     Add the collard greens, salt, black pepper and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the greens wilt, about 1 minute.
     Add the sausage, black-eyed peas and rice; cook, stirring for 30 minutes or until rice is well coated.
     Stir in the broth.
     Move bottom coals to a ring around the base of dutch oven and cover with as many coals on the lid as needed to keep broth at a strong bubble.
     Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
     Remove from the heat and stir in the scallion tops.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Saute celery, onion and scallions over a full spread of coals

Add collard greens and spices, cook until wilted, about 1 minute

Add kielbasa, black-eyed peas and rice, stir until well coated

Add broth, cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or
until liquid is absorbed

Celebrate the New Year with this easy, one-pot dinner


  1. Alright, THAT"S IT!! I simply must do this on New Year's. I've never heard of this in spite of having plenty of Okie and Arkie relatives, but this sounds delicious. Thanks for another "must do" recipe.

    1. I think you'll like it C.W., I've sent the recipe to friends who don't have camp ovens, it's a good, hearty and easy dish. I ate it for three nights in a row and it seemed to get better as time went on. Happy New Year! LIddy

    2. Ok, I made it, and it looked exactly like the pictures, and was really tasty. My wife was just eating some leftover for breakfast. Excellent comfort food, and pretty simply to mix and cook.

    3. Glad you both liked the recipe C.W., Liddy

  2. Made this for New Year's Day dinner on the stovetop in my 12 inch legless DO. It turned out amazing! Even my wife liked it, who usually doesn't go for kielbasa sausage. Thanks! I used two cups of rice and four cups of broth and it made enough for left-overs. Awesome recipe.

    1. Great idea doubling the rice, thanks for letting us know, Liddy

  3. Wonderful, savory, hearty dish! I tripled the recipe for a large meal and added chopped red and green peppers for additional color.

    IT FIT!

    The greens filled the pot, til they cooked down. then the rest went in and it cooked.

    When the lid came off, the rice had browned lightly, almost crispy,

    Everyone loved it, even the kids!

    1. Glad everyone enjoyed the recipe, good to know it can easily be tripled, I'll bet it was even better with the peppers. Thank you for your feedback, Liddy

  4. Whoa! Has it been two years since I made this? Made it again tonight to ring in 2016. Local grocery store's collard greens were too wilted and looked old, so we substituted broccoli and it still turned out delicious. Love this stuff. I'm sure I'll be eating more of it for lunch tomorrow. Happy New Year, Liddy!! Thanks for the blog, we love it!! -Aaron

    1. Happy New Year Aaron! Thank you for your kind comments, so glad you all enjoyed the Hoppin' John, will have to try it with broccoli too! Liddy