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smokin’ hoppin’ john

From down south in New Orleans there comes a Cajun dish of black-eyed peas and rice, traditionally served on New Year’s Day. Hoppin’ John they call it. Eaten on the first day of the new year, it’s purported to bring good luck for the remainder. I figure when something tastes this good, it’s bound to be lucky! Most often made with ham and bones, this is a vegetarian version – don’t be dissuaded you meat-eaters – it’s brimming with smoky flavor from smoked paprika and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  (Now you see where the smokin‘ comes from.)

If you use frozen black-eyed peas and white rice, you could assemble this in well under an hour. And is it ever affordable! (With money saved….here I go with the pitch again…you could donate to a local food bank or shelter and help another eat well. That just may be doubly lucky.)

Smokin’ Hoppin’ John

makes 4 very generous servings

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked medium- or long- grain rice (brown or white)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1½ cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, cooked and drained – or use a 20 oz. bag of frozen black-eyed peas for immediate use (see NOTE)
  • 2 – 3 cups vegetable both (or, if you prefer, chicken broth)
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 t. salt

Optional Garnishes:

  • chopped green onions
  • grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • shredded cheddar
  • hot sauce (especially Cholula chipotle-style)

Soak black-eyed peas overnight.  Cover with water to level 2 inches above beans.  Gently simmer until done.  Drain and set aside. (If using frozen beans, simply proceed to the next step.)

NOTE: on the black-eyed peas. I have a preference for beans I cook myself. They hold together better, have just the perfect “doneness” and I think a bit more flavor. HOWEVER, frozen black-eyed peas make a totally acceptable alternative to cooking the long way and I wouldn’t hesitate to go that route if at all pressed for time.

Over medium heat, warm the oil in a large saucepan or heavy-bottomed pot.  Add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and sweaty, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and rice and stir well.  Allow rice to toast for 1 minute.  Add the smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon salt and stir to coat the mixture well.

Add the black-eyed peas, followed by 2 cups of water or vegetable (or chicken) broth, the beer and minced chipotle chile.  Bring to a lively simmer, reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes (if using white rice) ~  or 50 minutes (if using brown basmati). Check the rice for both doneness and moisture.  The rice and peas should be moist, but not super soupy.  If the mixture is too dry, add additional liquid a few tablespoons at a time, up to 1 cup.  Return the lid and cook and additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir and taste, adding more salt as needed.  Serve hot with any — or all — of the optional garnishes.

Good luck! And Happy New Year!

I’ll be back to share a champagne dinner tomorrow!

PS – just out – a delicious sounding, good-lucking black-eyed pea patty over at Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide.

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. YUM! I’ll have to try this! 🙂

    December 29, 2011
  2. This looks satisfying and delicious. Can one buy a single can of beer or do they always come in six-packs? If only in six packs, I’ll need to find a lot more recipes besides this one that use beer in them–maybe beer battered tempura or something similar.
    Just returned from Newport on the Oregon Coast and I’m pleased be able to report that my somewhat cursory investigation reveals a noteworthy improvement in the culinary scene compared with previous years with fresh flavorful food [Spree-type cooking] appearing to be much more widely available than in the past.

    December 29, 2011
    • Oh definitely you can buy a single beer at a time…the unit price will be higher of course, but if you’re not a beer drinker, why have it taking up good space in the fridge. If on the other hand… 😉
      Happy to hear you had good eats in Newport, Joe. Happy New Year!

      December 29, 2011
  3. Oh MAN! I love this kind of stuff. Thanks!

    December 29, 2011
    • me too, and absolutely!

      December 29, 2011
  4. What a fabulous, hearty winter meal!

    December 29, 2011
  5. Finally! A Hoppin’ John recipe that a northeastern person can make. Every year since as long as I could remember, our cousins in South Carolina have had a New Year’s Day party featuring Hoppin’ John. It’s always been a huge success and I’ve always been longing to try it with a group of friends in New Jersey.

    Thanks again, Celie, I will start buying the ingredients right away.

    Happy New Year, all.


    December 29, 2011
    • Yes, finally Hoppin’ John for us Northerners! Happy New Year Ronnie!

      December 29, 2011
  6. Yu-u-u-um! I can testify — this is so good!

    December 29, 2011
  7. Your recipe sounds great. I have had black-eyed peas for New Years since I was a little girl. You always had to have at least one pea. My husband doesn’t like them so I have to add pork to any black-eyed pie recipe to get him tempted.

    December 29, 2011
  8. We do whatever it takes to help them eat their groceries don’t we? 🙂 The one-pea-rule has lots of applications! (and That works on your husband?) Thanks Karen! Happy New Year to you and yours!

    December 29, 2011
  9. I’ve heard of this dish many times but never saw a recipe. This looks very good and I cannot wait to try it. Thanks for sharing and I hope 2012 is a great year for you and yours!

    December 29, 2011
    • Thank you so much John! And may the same be true for you and yours!

      December 30, 2011
  10. Ali #

    Love this recipe! We will be having this at our place for New Years again this year!

    December 29, 2011
  11. Very nice pictures. I need some black eyed pea luck, but black eyed peas, frozen or fresh, are not a French staple.

    December 30, 2011
    • Now there’s a pity Roger! Though it wouldn’t look the same – and I’m not sure it would confer the same luck – I wonder how this would be with flageolets or cannellinis? Heres to your good health and good luck in 2012!

      December 30, 2011
  12. tofubelly #

    WOW! What an amazing looking recipe, and beautiful photos, too! Thank you for posting. I can’t wait to try this! Have you made a big batch and refrigerated? It would be great if I could make a huge batch and eat it all week!

    December 30, 2011
    • Thanks for your comments, “tofubelly”! iI you paired this with a good salad for dinner and you were feeding only yourself it would likely feed you for six days! As good as it is, you may grow tired of it. 🙂 I’ve doubled the recipe for a crowd though and that’s easily done.

      December 30, 2011
  13. Oh this looks yummy, thank you Spree I will try this for our new years day meal, will try with canned black eye beans though, which reminds me I have a great recipe for blk eye beanburgers, will share later. Have a great supper tomorrow 🙂

    December 30, 2011
    • Would love to see your recipe for black-eyed pea burgers, Lesley! Our champagne supper’s going to be super, and can’t wait to share. Thanks Lesley. Hope you enjoy the smokin’ hopping’ John too.

      December 30, 2011
  14. Have never heard of this but it looks just liek our kind of food – the fact that´s a New Year´s tradition makes it even more intriguing. Am going to put this down as one to cook in the next week or so – Happy New Year!

    December 30, 2011
    • Yes, Chica, beans and rice, smoked paprika and peppers…so Spanish, isn’t it? We’ll be visiting Spain in September and can hardly wait for the heavenly culinary experience! What a treat for all the senses that trip will be!

      December 30, 2011
  15. Oh I’m linking back to this too. Awesome recipe!

    December 30, 2011
    • Oh thanks so much for that Rufus!

      December 30, 2011
  16. Hi, Ms Spree! Thank you so much for coming over and subscribing to my blog–great intro to lure me over and see that I’m going to enjoy following *your* cool blog! Love this recipe’s smoky enhancements (two ingredients I really enjoy using often); it sounds like a very appealing version of Hoppin’ John indeed. Haven’t made HJ in years, but I think I just might again now that I’ve seen this! 🙂

    December 31, 2011

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Lucky black-eyed pea cakes | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
  2. 30th December 2011 …… Black Eye Bean Burgers « photo journeys

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