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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Southern Comfort

It's really excellent when you can begin a new year by not working for a couple of days, although it is a rude shock to come back to the office.  Today I've been writing a brief for a big mediation later in the week, answering e-mails and generally re-acclimating myself.  It was a lovely three-day weekend, but now it's time to pay the proverbial piper. 

I rarely talk about work here because 1) much of what I do is confidential and 2) I work in a very low-drama office considering that we're a group of litigators.  I work with nice people who do their work ethically and generally try to rebut what most people think of lawyers.

But anyway...the three-day weekend meant lots of cooking, including one of my favorite New Year's traditions, Hoppin' John.  I'll give a shout-out to Ramona over at Curry and Comfort, because she's the only other blogger I saw posting about this traditional Southern dish--hers is a fantastic-looking version flavored with and colored by curry.  It looks absolutely delicious, and it's a great take on the original dish.

Black-eyed peas are eaten on New Year's Day for good luck, and this dish marries them with long-grain white rice in a way that mimics the traditional Monday dish of New Orleans, red beans and rice.  Although the black-eyed peas are typically cooked with a ham hock, I have substituted a spicy chicken sausage that keeps the dish pork-free while still being in the same spirit as the original.

New Year's Day Hoppin' John
Inspired by a Recipe from

1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. chicken link sausage, casing removed and coarsely chopped
2 peperoncini peppers, crushed
1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas, washed and picked over
1 cup long-grain white rice or jasmine rice
3 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, combine the water, stock, bay leaves and black-eyed peas.  If any peas float to the top, discard them.  Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat so the peas simmer.

After the peas are on, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  When it is hot, add the olive oil and allow it to warm before adding the chicken sausage and onion.  Fry the onion and chicken sausage until they are lightly browned.  Add the onion-sausage combination to the pot with the black-eyed peas.

Using the same skillet, lightly brown the bell peppers.  When they are soft, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add the contents of this skillet to the pot with the black-eyed peas.

At the half-hour mark, taste the peas for seasoning and add salt and black pepper as needed.  Crush two small peperoncini and add them to the pot.

When the peas are fully cooked and tender, which should be about an hour, add the rice to the pot.  Cover the pot and cook for an additional twenty minutes or until the rice is fully cooked, adding a bit of additional broth if more liquid is needed.

Once the rice is cooked, remove the pot from the heat and allow to sit for another ten minutes.  Just before serving, fluff the mixture with a fork.

Serves 6.  We served it with a green salad and popovers--the popovers weren't a perfect match, but David was craving them since we didn't have them at Chrismukkah.


  1. This looks delicious! I love Hoppin' John though for some reason I have never actually had it on New Years Day.

  2. I am a rice eater and this recipe looks good. Will try it out, yummy!!!!

  3. Thank you so much for the shout sweet of you! :) I really love the addition of sausage with your dish. The combo on pork and the black eyed peas is a good "lucky" combination from what I read. So you had good luck in spades with your dish. I hope the new year has been great so far for you and all the best for the days to come. ~ Ramona

  4. I also ate Black Eyes on new years! YUM! I hope they bring us luck! Happy New Year!!!

  5. This looks delicious and it's one of my favorites! I saw Ramona's post and that was SO nice of you to mention her! It's funny - we love hoppin' john and we LIVE in the South, but we eat it other times during the year, not on new years....go figure!

  6. That title of southern comfort as first brought me flashbacks of the brand of alcohol but then after going through the rest and I will say yes, because we are such big rice eaters and pairing with the salad makes it even more tempting.

    Like you, I stay away from sharing my work and also my personal like because I don't want others to know much about issues which are best kept to only close people.

  7. It was quite the shock to head back to work today wasn't it? This recipe sounds lovely. Happy new year : )

  8. Yes, lots of people are in the catch up mode from being off, but the holidays were well worth it.
    The only exposure I have had to black eyed peas is eating them cooked plainly. This dish will certainly take the place of the plain one for the New Years day tradition-Yum!

  9. Sheesh. I wish MY office was low drama.

    Delicious dish! And how much fun is it to say 'Hoppin John?!'

  10. Sounds like a wonderful dish to kick off the new year. I need to start a tradition...I have a feeling Hoppin' John wouldn't go over well with the picky meat and potatoes crew :)

  11. What a lovely recipe!I love rice recipes from around the world and this looks so tempting, wil definitely be making this :)

  12. Love Hoppin John. A lot of people don't care for the peas but I certainly do. A southern tradition. Happy New Year.

  13. I get black-eyed peas only when I spend the New Year in America. Texan friends of my in-laws always host on New Year's Day, and there's always a huge crock pot full :)

  14. Well you have to count me out on this one being I am allergic to onions, I never can use them. But it sure looks tasty!

  15. @Pegasuslegend, how sad that you can't eat onions! I'm afraid there really isn't a good substitute for them in this recipe.

  16. I wonder if its too late to make this for luck during the New Year...

  17. Hoppin John sounds so good. I have never had nor have I heard of it. But I want some lol.

  18. I usually make Hoppin' John for New Year's, but I made a chili with blackeye peas this year. It was delicious too. I love that you served this with popovers! Hope you have a good week!

  19. I must admit that I've never tried Hoppin John but this looks really delicious! There really is something comforting about southern recipes and I'm glad to see you added popovers to this wonderful tradition! If you and Ramona love this must be good! : )

  20. I think I am from another space I just learned that black eyed peace New Year's Day for good luck...gosh next year I make sure that I will eat one =)the recipe is great.

  21. Obviously I have a lot to learn in other cuisines. I am not familiar with Hoppin John, but it looks delicious. Happy New Year to you, and looking forward to getting to know you more this year!

  22. I have never heard of Hoppin John this looks like a nice tasty recipe.. Belated happy new year to you and yours

  23. I've seen this recipe often, but have yet to try it. I love your presentation in that last picture. Very nice!

  24. I've never even heard of this so thanks for showing me something new. Looks really yummy!