Our Hoppin' John
Dress Up the Ordinary
This traditional Lowcountry dish is served on New Year's Day to insure luck and prosperity in the coming year. Its roots are in African, French, and Caribbean cuisines that came together in the American South. There are many tales that explain how Hoppin' John got its name, but no one seems to agree on which one is correct. It's also nearly impossible to get southern cooks to agree on how it should be made. Hoppin' John is usually served with braised collard greens (also considered lucky) and a fat square of golden corn bread to soak up the juices. Here's our version:
2 cups dried black-eyed peas
2 tablespoons canola oil or Graisse de Canard Gold®
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound smoked ham hocks
1 1/2 ounces Glace de Poulet Gold® dissolved in 4 cups hot water
Salt and ground black pepper
3 cups cooked white rice
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Pick over the black-eyed peas to remove dirt and stones, then rinse them in cold water. Transfer the peas to a large bowl, pour in water to cover them by about 2 inches, and soak the peas overnight. Drain the peas in a colander.
In large soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.
Add the ham hocks to the pot, then the drained peas. Pour in the diluted Glace de Poulet Gold® and stir to combine. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until the peas are tender. (Cooking time may vary widely depending on how long the beans have been stored. Some may be done in 40 minutes, and some may take 2 hours. Add a little water or additional stock if the beans start looking dry.)
Remove the ham hocks, trim the meat from them, cut it into bite-size pieces, and add it to the peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the peas and ham over white rice with a generous sprinkling of the green onions on top.