New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, which means everyone down here is stocking up on collard greens, black eyed peas, and cornbread fixin’s. People say these dishes will bring you good luck, but I think healthy home cookin’ is just a great way to start the New Year.
In my book, Modern Cast Iron, I have tasty recipes for traditional collard greens, cornbread, and field peas. But this year I wanted to make a big pot of Hoppin’ John.
Now, if you order Hoppin’ John from some restaurants, you might get a simple bowl of black eyed peas and rice. But Robby and I like ours a bit spicier and with more goodies like chopped bell pepper and tomatoes. We don’t like it too spicy, though—we want to be able to taste our dessert, after all.
So this year, I experimented with traditional Hoppin’ John recipes, modifying them to fit our taste and to make the recipe as easy as possible. (I am a busy toddler mom, after all!) Robby and I were quite pleased with the result, and I think you will be, too. That’s because this recipe is so flexible! I’ll give you the basic recipe first and then provide some variations.
- Medium-sized Dutch oven
- 15 oz black eyed peas, frozen (See Note 1 below.)
- ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic (or minced)
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- 1 ham hock or ham bone
- 64 oz chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 oz Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, mild
- Add olive oil, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and seasonings to a medium (4-6 quart) Dutch oven and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add ham hock to the pot and let it cook in the oil a few minutes, turning it over periodically.
- Add broth, bay leaf, and peas to the pot. Bring to a boil, then place the lid on the Dutch oven and reduce the heat. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until peas are tender.
- Remove ham hock or bone. If using a bone, remove any meat and add it back to the pot. (See Note 2 below.)
- Add half the can of Rotel tomatoes and let the peas and tomatoes simmer for 5 minutes.
- Taste the mixture and add more Rotel if desired, up to the whole can. (See Note 3 below.) Add water if needed to reach desired consistency.
- Let the peas continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until done. While the peas are cooking, make a pot of white rice.
- Remove bay leaf from the peas and serve over rice with a side of cornbread.
Well, you know what we’re having for New Year’s. What about you? Do you have a special meal planned? I hope it involves your favorite cast-iron Dutch oven.
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