Serves: 4 to 6
Hands On Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes
1 pound dried black-eyed peas
8 cups chicken stock
1 ham hock
1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
1 carrot, peeled and halved
1 rib celery, halved
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices smoky bacon, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 cups Carolina Gold Rice
3 cups water
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
6 to 8 scallions, thinly sliced
Rinse the black-eyed peas in water and remove any pebbles. Transfer to a large bowl and add water to cover by at least 2 inches. Let soak at room temperature overnight.
The next day, drain the peas.
In a large stock pot, combine the chicken stock, ham hock, onion, carrot, celery and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the broth is fully flavored, about 1 hour. Add in the soaked and drained peas, return to a simmer, and cook on low heat until tender, about 1 hour. Turn off the heat and remove the ham hock, onion, carrot, celery and bay leaves. Pick the meat from the hock and add it back to the peas. Stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat.
Wash the rice with cold water until the water runs clear.
Put rice in a large saucepan and cover with the water, the reserved bacon fat and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the water is absorbed, 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave covered to steam for another 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.
In a large bowl, gently mix the rice and peas =with the parsley, half of the bacon and half of the scallions. The mixture should be moist, but not runny. Scatter the remaining bacon and scallions on top and serve.
About the recipe
Hoppin’ John at its core involves rice and black eyed peas, but you can supplement the flavor with aromatic vegetables and smoky pork. This is a wonderful side dish or great as a main course with some braised greens and cornbread.