Add southern pizzazz to your rice with my Hoppin John recipe!
The holy trinity of onion, celery, and peppers; black-eyed peas; and bacon all come together in your new favorite way to serve rice! Hearty and smoky, full of veggies and spices layered with buttery Carolina Gold rice, my Hoppin John recipe is great served hot or cold like broccoli salad.
Let’s get cooking!
- Bring some Southern tradition to your table!
- Black-eyed peas are loaded with good nutrients
- Carolina Gold Rice is the standard in rice flavor!
- Big hearty portions to combat end of holiday doldrums
What, exactly, is Hoppin John? Here’s a bit of history for you: no one knows where the name originated — one of the more believable stories is that it comes from a mishearing of the French Creole translation of “pigeon peas,” pois a pigeon, pronounced “pwah pee-jon.”
Wherever it started, I sure am glad to have this Hoppin John recipe now!
Vegetarian: Transform this Hoppin John recipe vegetarian in a snap! Just leave out the bacon (or swap for your favorite faux bacon!) and add a bit of cooking oil instead. Also, switch out the chicken broth for vegetarian stock.
Dutch Oven: Dutch ovens are great for cooking soups, stews, and other brothy recipes because they are durable, high volume, conduct heat well, and keep food heated for extended periods of time. If you don’t have one, though, a large pot will do just fine!
Carolina Gold: Named after the color of its harvest-ready fields, Carolina Gold is a Southern heirloom and every rice aficionado’s favorite. It’s known for its versatility and flavorful potential. BBC Travel has an interesting article on the grain’s complex economic history if you care to learn more!
If you can’t find it, you can use long-grain white rice.
Toasting the Rice: Frying rice before boiling has a number of benefits. You reduce the cooking time by heating the rice, diminish the stickiness of the final product, and add an extra layer of flavor with the oil and caramelized starches. While it’s not the end of the world if you skip this step, it really adds something to the dish!
Rice Texture: Achieving the perfect rice texture is a fine art! Many cooks waffle between that underdone crunch and mushy slop.
Some common mistakes to avoid when cooking rice are lifting the lid, stirring, skipping the pre-rinse, including too much or too little water, and forgetting to let the pot sit for a few minutes after cooking.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
This recipe does great in the fridge as leftovers! Seal it up, and let it sit for up to six days. Toss any leftovers after that point — the rice will have lost its integrity, and you risk bacteria growth.
Can You Freeze This Hoppin John?
Yes indeed! Portion the leftovers from your Hoppin John recipe into sealable containers and store in the freezer for up to half a year.
To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm slowly on the stovetop, adding water as necessary and seasoning to taste.
Make Ahead Tips
You can whip together this Hoppin John recipe months in advance if you plan to freeze the recipe, and a couple of days in advance if you want to keep it in the refrigerator. Some say it tastes even better after a day of sitting!
This Hoppin John recipe is a great side dish along with a lump of hearty meat like Mississippi pot roast or ham– but it makes a great main meal too!
Want to shake up the powerful Hoppin John recipe flavors even more?
- Use sausage or ham instead. Swap that bacon for sausage or ham to make this even more of a main meal!
- Add okra. Go full Southern with this classic veggie staple.
- Use ground beef. Ground beef is a great meat substitute for the bacon — or use both!
- Add greens. Pack on the veggies with more South charm like collard green and kale!
- Add shrimp. Give a nod to gumbo with shrimp! It goes great with the bacon too.
Looking for more delectable Southern side dishes? Try these!
Source: Southern Living
Hoppin John Recipe
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup green pepper, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thymes
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
- 4 cups frozen black-eyed peas. thawed and drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked Carolina Gold Rice
- green onions
- In a large pot, cook the chopped bacon until it begins to crisp, about 10 minutes.
- Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Saute the vegetables with the crisp bacon until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the broth and thawed Black-Eyed Peas and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the black-eyed peas are tender, about 40 minutes.
- Drain the mixture, reserving all the cooking liquid. Place the drained mixture back in the pot they were cooked in and add 1 cup of cooking liquid. Cover and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, toast the rice in oil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the rice becomes fragrant.
- Stir in 3 cups of the reserved cooking liquid, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently until the cooking liquid has absorbed and the rice is tender.
- Fluff the cooked rice with a fork, then add the rice to the black-eyed pea mixture.
- Add the remaining cooking liquid, 1⁄4 cup at a time, until the mixture reaches the desired texture. Sprinkle servings with sliced fresh scallions.