Hoppin John, a New Year’s day good-luck tradition in the South, is made with black-eyed peas, rice, bacon, and chicken stock. Regardless of whether it brings good fortune or not, we think it’s worthy of the occasion based on taste alone.
Hoppin John is a Southern staple of rice and black-eyed peas traditionally devoured on New Year’s day to ensure good fortune. We can’t promise you good luck, however, we can promise that you’ll be quite sated thanks to this.–Angie Zoobkoff
- 1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas sorted and rinsed
- 7 cups canned chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- 1/2 pound bacon chopped
- 1 medium shallot minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Chopped green onions for garnish
- Hot sauce for serving (optional)
- In a 3 1/2-quart (3.3-liter) saucepan over high heat, combine the black-eyed peas and 6 cups of the broth or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 30 to 45 minutes (or longer if your peas happen to be quite old).
- Drain the peas, reserving the cooking liquid. In the same saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until brown and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, reserving the drippings in the saucepan. Add the shallot and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss in the rice, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Measure the reserved cooking liquid and add enough remaining stock, if necessary, to make 2 cups.
- Add the stock mixture to the rice mixture, and stir well. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer over medium-low, without stirring, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, and add the black-eyed peas and bacon, stirring to mix.
- Garnish with chopped green onions just before serving and pass hot sauce on the side, if desired.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I had never heard about this dish until I moved to the South. It’s a classic rice and bean dish and this recipe didn’t disappoint! When I had it, there were a lot of green onions on the top so I added more than what you see in the picture, but that is just a personal preference.
This Hoppin’ John could not be more delicious! I always thought it was super time-consuming and hard, which it is decidedly not. The bonus is that this recipe uses one pan so there’s less clean-up AND the flavors build on each other in the best way possible. I loved it as a hearty dinner and a super-fast breakfast the next morning with an egg. Leftovers keep well and a pot generously serves 6 (or 4 with leftovers).
The black-eyed peas sucked up all but a cup of the broth so please use the best flavored broth. The bacon took a bit longer to brown and crisp–I let it go nearly 20 minutes for even browning and to get a nice fond on the pot. I added an extra cup of stock to get it 2 cups and the rice was perfectly cooked in 20 minutes. And yes, it is great with hot sauce.
Comfort food need not “wow” me like a standing rib roast would—all I ask of it is to be uncomplicated and, well, comforting. With humblest ingredients and simple and familiar steps, this Hoppin’ John makes a tasty and satisfying weeknight dinner.
On a personal note, the first forkful took me back to an unadorned yet delicious rice dish I had over 20 years ago (simply called “rice and pigeon peas,” prepared by a friend’s mom from the West Indies). It is a winner, and yes, it IS great with hot sauce!
I didn’t expect to like this dish very much but it was delicious. The bacon and shallots added both flavor and a moistness to the rice and the black eyed peas gave the dish a creamy texture. I served this as a side dish but it was substantial enough to stand alone.
I used two 32-ounce cartons of Swanson Chicken Stock so I did not need to add any of the reserved cooking liquid to the rice mixture. This allowed me to cook the bacon and rice mixture while the peas were cooking, saving much down time. The black-eyed peas and the rice were done at approximately the same time.
This recipe made 6 servings.
Considering how much I love Southern food, I’m surprised I have never had Hoppin’ John but have heard so much about it. I was looking forward to trying this recipe and finally seeing why it’s so popular. It definitely lived up to its reputation. Toasting the rice and aromatics in the bacon fat was key in creating great flavor as well as providing a rich texture to the rice.
This recipe is very easy to make and requires very few ingredients yet yields amazing results. Hot sauce is highly recommended.
This was a fairly easy recipe with really quite good results.
I didn’t need to add any extra stock to bring the liquid up to 2 cups. The green onion garnish was a good idea as was a splash of Tabasco. This recipe would easily serve 8 as a side dish. I served this with collard greens and andouille sausage—all that was missing was the cornbread!
One could make the black-eyed peas ahead of time and just microwave them a bit before adding to the cooked rice.
Originally published December 25, 2020
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
My boyfriend had never before tasted a black-eyed pea and after the first bite of this dish, he said, “Oh, that’s awesome.” He further described this dish as brown bacon-y goodness and high-fived me after finishing his bowl. For us, this was comfort food with the bacon flavor prevalent in a great way in every bite.
The green onions should not be optional, as they really add a punch to this dish not to mention a spot of color in an otherwise brown dish. I would have liked a bit of acid in this dish, and think that the suggested hot sauce could really add both flavor and acid, but I also considered a bit of chopped tomato on top for next time. I was initially skeptical that the black-eyed peas would be cooked in such a short time and was happy to be proven wrong.
We ate this with a spinach salad and it provided a nice freshness on the side.