You simply have to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s if you’re Southern. Some people make peas by themselves, and others make Hoppin’ John. Although it’s a traditional food, there are so many variations that practically every family has a different recipe. We tried to include a little bit of everything for everyone and still keep close to what we know is Hoppin’ John to our families. Most of the recipes you find online use rice instead of corn and don’t include okra, but here in Alabama, our ancestors would’ve canned corn, okra, and tomatoes from their summer gardens for winter use, so we’re more likely to put those in our black-eyed peas than rice. If you want to be most authentic, you’ll need organic dried black-eyed peas, preferably grown by you or a neighbor. You’ll need to soak them thoroughly for at least 24 hours, blanch them, and cook them in fresh, clean water for the best results. Try it; we think you’ll love the blend of flavors, colors, and textures.
- 2 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup corn or brown rice
- 2 cups dried black-eyed peas
- 1 lb. tomatoes, diced or 16 oz. canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup okra, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- Pinch of red pepper
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- Fry the bacon in a pan until it just starts to crisp. Pour the bacon and fat into a crock pot, then add the rest of the ingredients. Add enough water to cover everything.
- Cook it all on low for about 4 hours until the liquid has been absorbed and the peas are tender.
- Fluff with a fork before serving.
- For a soup variation, you can use double the amount of chicken or vegetable broth and add enough water to fill up the crock pot. Also brown around 8 ounces organic pork link sausage that has been sliced about 1/4 inch thick and stir it in. Make sure you drain the fat off the sausage, since you don’t want too much greasiness in a soup.