Paulding Hoppin' John
Making hoppin' john with my sister, Alice.
I grew up eating hoppin' john, a rice dish with black eyed peas and pork. My mom was born in Arkansas and brought this traditional southern dish to my father's family, and served it every New Year for good luck. There are lots of variations on this delicious dish. Below is a very simple recipe which can be adjusted: swap out the pork for other meats; add in some vegetables for variation; try out different kinds of rice; the possibilities are endless!
Paulding Hoppin John
1 cup uncooked rice (I really like brown basmati rice but you can use any kind you have on hand)
1 large onion, diced
1 container salt pork, diced (this is roughly a cup of uncooked salt pork. Options: you can use bacon, you can smoke your salt pork first, or just fry it unsmoked. IMPORTANT: you'll need to make sure the "silver skin" is cut off or you'll never be able to bite through it!)
1 can black eyed peas (you're also welcome to use dried rather than canned)
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste
Cook your rice.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Dice your onion and set aside.
Chop your salt pork, taking care to remove the silver skin.
Fry up the salt pork, then pull out with a slotted spoon and let rest on a plate covered with a paper towel.
Pour 2/3 of your remaining pork fat into a jar, then use the remaining 1/3 to saute up your diced onions.
Open your can of black eyed peas and drain.
Once onions are translucent, add in your can of black eyed peas.
Stir, and add the bay leaf and salt and pepper.
Once that has simmered, remove the bay leaf.
Grab a casserole dish.
Lightly salt & pepper your rice (you'll be getting a lot of salty flavor from your other two components but it's nice to have your rice perfectly seasoned, too!)
Mix your three parts: rice, salt pork, and black eyed peas. I like to do this in a separate bowl so my casserole pan doesn't get too messy but you can also mix in the final pan.
Pop your mixed Hoppin' John into the oven and bake for a minimum 20 minutes, up to 40 minutes. You want the top to be crispy but not too dark.
Serve! I like to add a fried egg on top but it's also an excellent side dish on its own. Tell me about your hoppin' john!
My sister can't believe I still make my rice on the stove and not in a rice cooker! I add water to the rice until the water is above the rice to the first knuckle on my index finger. Then bring to a boil, cover with a lid and let simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.
Cutting the "silver skin" off. Discard! You can't eat this bad boy (that I'm aware of)
Mmmm! I always have to make more than I'm planning to use in my recipe because I can't help snacking. SO GOOD!
Cooked! (But this is more on the 20 minute side because I was super hungry)
Here it is, more cooked and mixed in the actual casserole dish. See how much messier the sides are?
With a fried egg, hoppin' john is so good. If you ever have any leftover, you can use for a quick breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. It fits all the categories!
Cook and eat in good health!