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Hoppin' John

serves 2-4

This is a traditional Hoppin' John recipe adapted from the Lee Brothers' piece in the New York Times on New Year's Day 2003. We increased the ratio of black-eyed peas to rice since we like the peas so much. If you can't find a good bottled pepper vinegar, a few red pepper flakes mixed in with some apple cider vinegar will do the trick.


2 cups dried black-eyed peas
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ham hock or jowl (or 2 slices thick-cut bacon)
1 medium onion, diced
5 cups water
1 cup long-grain white rice
4 canned whole peeled tomatoes, drained and pureed
pepper vinegar
Tabasco sauce


prep: 10 minutes
total: 5 hours 25 minutes


large bowl
large saucepan
can opener


1. Rinse and drain the dried peas. Cover them with lots of fresh water and soak 4 hours.

2. Drain the beans. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. When it's hot, add the hock and brown it on both sides (or cook the bacon until its fat renders), 3-5 minutes. Add the onion and cook until soft, another 3-5 minutes.

3. Add a pinch of salt and lots of fresh ground pepper, and the water. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes.

4. Add the peas and simmer, uncovered, until they're tender, 20-30 minutes. Stir in the rice and tomato puree and cover. Simmer until the rice is tender, another 20-30 minutes.

5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the dish sit, covered, until ready to serve. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Serve with Tabasco or pepper vinegar.
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