Recipe for Hoppin' John

Bowl of hoppin' john
Smneedham/Photolibrary/Getty Images
    8 hrs 15 mins
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Southern tradition dictates that a bowlful of Hoppin' John, a stew of black-eyed peas and rice, should be the first thing you eat on New Year's Day, guaranteeing a prosperous year. Another version of this tradition says you'll have a lucky day for each pea you eat. Whether or not these myths are true, this is still a hearty and flavorful meal to enjoy on New Year's Day or any winter day for that matter. Smoked ham hock gives the stew a smoky, rich, flavor, but you can make a vegetarian version of this dish. See the notes at the bottom of the recipe.

This recipe is made in the slow cooker. Put it in before you head out for your New Year's Eve festivities, and it will simmer all night long so it's ready for New Year's Day brunch. Be sure to soak the beans (overnight or using the quick-soak method) before putting them in the slow cooker.

Cooking Equipment Needed: Chef's Knife (one to try: Victorinox Swiss Classic Chef's Knife), cutting board, 6-quart or larger slow cooker (one to try: All-Clad 7-Quart Slow Cooker), liquid measuring cup, garlic tool, ladle

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups long-grained white rice
  • Hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco Sauce

How to Make It

  1. In a large (6 quart) slow cooker crock, combine the soaked beans, onion, celery, bell pepper, ham hock and garlic. Pour the chicken stock into the slow cooker crock, and stir to combine the ingredients. Add the bay leaf, and push it into the liquid until it's submerged.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, until beans are tender. Discard the bay leaf and the ham hock. The stew can also be cooked on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  1. Before serving, prepare the rice as you would normally.
  2. To serve, spoon some cooked white rice into a bowl and ladle Hoppin' John over the rice. Pass hot pepper sauce at the table for everyone to season to their liking.

Note: To make a vegetarian version of this Hoppin' John recipe, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock or vegetarian chicken-flavored stock. Omit the ham hock. Season to taste when the stew is finished cooking with smoked paprika, chipotle seasoning, or bacon salt.