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Black eyed peas/Hoppin' John

All this new year's talk got me thinking about the above -- anyone have a terrific recipe? For the greens too!

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  1. If you have a pressure cooker, I highly recommend the recipe below. It comes from a Roy Andries de Groot cookbook published in 1978 called “Pressure Cookery Perfected.” It was a large-format paperback, published by Summit Books, and sold back then for $5.95. I checked Barnes & Noble's website and couldn't find a copy, but I did find lots of them on Amazon, with used ones starting at $0.25!

    The author says that it serves 2. Maybe they eat bigger portions in Georgia, but, in my opinion, this recipe serves at least 4 as a side dish. After slicing the pork and chopping the onions, it cooks in a little under an hour. I’ll paraphrase it for you. There's no mention of bottled hot sauce, but I think it's traditional to serve this with some on the side. Then again, what do I know? I'm a New Yorker. Anyway, I hope you give it a try - it's a really good dish. And Happy New Year!

    Authentic Georgia Hopping John
    Cook under pressure at 15 lbs for 30 minutes + 15 minutes + 4 minutes

    1⁄2 cup black-eyed peas, often called cowpeas
    1 lb. smoked pork butt, cut into 3⁄4-inch-thick slices
    3 cups chicken broth (canned is fine, but use low-sodium because the pork butt brings a lot of salt with it)
    1/3 cup white rice
    1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
    salt and freshly ground pepper, to your taste

    Use a pressure cooker that has at least a 3-quart capacity. Pick over the peas while washing them and toss any broken ones. The slices of pork go on the bottom of the pressure cooker (without the rack). Then pour in the broth and, if you need it, some cold water – enough to cover the meat. Bring this to a boil and cover with the lid; bring the pressure up to 15 pounds and let it go for precisely half an hour.

    When your timer goes off, take the pot off the heat and put it under cold running water in the sink so that the pressure goes down right away. After you get the top off, pour the broth into a heatproof container for later use. Sprinkle the black-eyed peas down over and around the sliced pork in the pot. Measure out 2 cups of the hot broth and pour it back over the meat and peas. Put the lid back on, turn on the burner again and bring the pressure back to 15 pounds and set your timer for 15 minutes.

    This time, when the timer goes off, turn off the heat and let the pressure reduce gradually, rather than putting it in the sink under cold water. Then take off the top and lift out the sliced pork, which you now cut into a coarse dice and put back in the pot, along with the rice, chopped onions, salt and pepper and another cup of the broth. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir it all together but try not to mash up the black-eyed peas. Then replace the lid and bring it up to 15 pounds again for exactly 4 minutes, to cook the rice.

    Once again, when the timer goes off, take it off the heat and let the pressure reduce gradually, until you can easily remove the top. Just about all the liquid should have been absorbed and the rice will be nice and soft, with just a little toothiness to it. If it looks to you like you still have a little too much broth in the bottom of the pot, just reduce it a bit by boiling the pot for a few minutes, uncovered. When it’s done, use the wooden spoon again – but lift, don’t stir, the mixture, so that it loosens a little as you serve it.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Deenso

      Thank you so much -- are the peas fresh, frozen, or dried? The only smoked pork other than hocks are smoked pork chops, which would be better for this?

      1. re: Sarah

        Sarah, I don't remember posting the reply that came up in my name about 6 hours ago, so it's possible somebody else who isn't as fastidious about their spelling posted as me.

        In any case, my answers to your questions would be: I used dried black-eyed peas. I would think that using fresh, frozen or canned would make a big change in the timing of the cooking, but I wouldn't know how to make those adjustments.

        And I would imagine that smoked pork chops, cut fairly thick, would be okay if you can't lay your hands on smoked hocks. However, it might worth it to ask the butcher at your local supermarket if he/she might be able to order them for you from their distributer, given enough advance notice.

        1. re: Deenso

          I didn't see that response, but weird! Thanks for clearing up some points!

      2. re: Deenso

        I'm cooking up a pot of black eyed peas right now! I make Hot Hopping Johns! Once the peas are finished cooking (with ham pieces cut up in them) I'll add the onions, garlic, and a sprinkle or two of Cajun seasoning spices. Cook up a pot of rice, add it to the mix and then cook up some Jimmy Dean or Owens Hot Sausage and add that to the mix. Then I'll top it off with a can of Rotel Tomatoes! HOT HOPPING JOHNS for New Years Eve! I guar-an-tee you everyone will be Hopping!

        1. re: kitchenmouse

          I too have a pot of those babies simmering downstairs as I write. Unlike poor Sarah, wherever she lives, I get my NY-celebration meats from a German butcher shop up in Montrose, CA (on the north edge of Glendale), which this year included 2 lbs of their slab bacon and about 2 lbs of smoked pork loin. About a third of the bacon, deeply scored but in one piece, is in the pea pot, along with some onion and several pods of dried red pepper. I'm not getting too fancy with the peas because the main New Year's dish will be a choucroute garni, with more of the bacon, the pork loin, braised fresh pork shoulder and a couple of kinds of sausage. Oink!!

      3. I always do mine up Mediterranean style.

        I saute up some onions & garlic with chopped pancetta (or bacon if I've been remiss in planning)and sometimes some ham. I drain and rinse a can of black-eyed peas and add about a half pound of mustard greens (fresh or frozen/thawed/squeezed) and saute until nice and hot. I serve with some toasted pine nuts and fresh parm on top and drizzle with balsamic.

        1. I make these for my family all the time, and they always love them!

          Black eyed peas turn out great in a crockpot with lots of garlic,pork butt, 2 tomatoes, large onion, 2 serrano chilies, chicken broth to cover, thyme, and herbs de provence. I put them on early in the morning and let them simmer all day adjusting the seasong and tasting as I go. I don't think you need a pressure cooker for this one. Just soak the beans the night before and pick them over for any bad ones or stones. Serve it with a great bread.

          1. I do a variation of David Rosengarten's recipe from thr Dean & DeLuca book. Dried peas are cheap and easy to cook. I also use the very best country sausage I can find, from a local processor. Any sausage that's to your liking will do, though.

            1. Here's a H.J. recipe by the chef at "Gullah Cuisine."


              A link to her restaurant:

              The Gullah subculture epitomizes the traditional African culture that developed during the early days when rice was cultivated in the lowland Carolinas.

              I like this recipe as "very traditional" because it's a one-pot method, as opposed to cooking rice separately, and uses dried peas. Those constraints would have been the norm in 1700's Gullah kitchens. Also, this is a great recipe to experience smoked ham hocks.

              Dried peas are best for hopping john types of dishes; frozen (or fresh: Divine) are best for cold salad types where they keep a discrete firm shape; canned are best for hummus type spreads.

              For a "Georgia Hummus", substitute canned blackeyed peas for chickpeas and sub peanut butter for tahini.

              Stockup alert: The price of canned and frozen blackeyed peas plummets in the first 2 weeks of January to move the overstock from New Years Day. Same for frozen collards.

              1 Reply
              1. re: FoodFuser

                The recipe sounds simple but good!

              2. I always add garlic (at least two cloves per pot) to my black eyed peas. That plus good hot sauce on the side gives them some "life." If you cannot bear pork in your peas-- smoked turkey wings or turkey ham also do the job.

                I have fond memories of crowder peas (similar to black eyed peas) as well. My mom would get them from "down home" in Mississippi (they were fresh not dried or canned). One of the many things I miss food wise not living in Chicago. The closest I get to this is from my aunt's house in Sacramento (I'm down in Petaluma- not exactly a soul food haven--never found the right stuff in Oakland or SF).

                1. I started with a recipe from the 1975 _Joy of Cooking_, but doctored it up a fair bit (the original was basically tasty, but bland).


                  This reminds me, got to put black-eyed peas on my grocery list before New Year's...

                  1. The recipe from low country living is a very good one. Living here in low country SC that would be the recipe most folks would use. I like the idea of using cow peas (purple hull peas). Never made it with those, but I know it would be good. I buy my cow peas from carolina plantation rice. They also grow a long grain white rice all most like jasmine. Check out carolinaplantationrice.com

                    1. I go to a party every year on the 1st where they serve very traditional southern recipe black eyed peas. So I make several recipes that are ah not so traditional.

                      Black Eyed Pea Pate

                      2 Cans of Blacked Eyed Peas drained and rinsed
                      1 Block cream cheese
                      1/2 cup salsa
                      1 Onion
                      2 Garlic Cloves
                      Add all of this to a food processor and process to smooth

                      2 Green Bell Peppers Diced
                      1/2 Spanish Onion diced
                      Mix in to the smooth

                      2 Packages of gelatin
                      Add gelatin to a couple of tables of water heat to dissolve
                      Add to the mix
                      Use plastic wrap and a little oil in a mold add your mix and chill over night.

                      Serve with crackers

                      Black Eyed Pea cheesecake (yep cheesecake)

                      I basically use a typical cheesecake recipe add 1 can of rinse peas processed to smooth. Add 3 cups of chocolate chips. Add 4 T of cocoa powder. 1/3 cup extra sugar. 4 T Walnut liquor or Amaretto.

                      Again the goal here is to make stuff that people who won't eat the peas will actually like. It's also really fun to see people freak out when they discover they have just eaten black eyed peas.

                      1. O let the moneygods not be angered with me: I just made my most delicious Hoppin; John with Chinese black rice, cooked in leftover liquid from the peas & smoked ham. To add some Rockefeller green, I chopped fine chives, thyme, oregano, & tarragon, the fresh herbs on hand--enough to yield about 1/2 cup. Although the whole dish looks sprayed in sepia ink, the herbs make it green in the mouth--& in a golden yellow ceramic bowl, it promises a rich year. Happy 2014.