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Hoppin' John

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  • Prep 30 min
  • Total 2 hr 0 min
  • Servings 8
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A traditional Southern dish made with black-eyed peas and ham that'll give you good luck for the new year!
by: Macheesmo
Updated Apr 25, 2017
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  • 1 large ham hock (or 1 pound cubed ham)
  • 1 lb black-eyed peas (soaked overnight)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 whole jalapeños (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 quart stock (chicken or veggie)
  • 1 bunch kale or collard greens
  • 1 salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups rice (before cooking)


  • 1
    Soak black-eyed peas overnight. Then add peas with ham hock or if you can't find a good ham hock you can just cut up 1 inch cubes of ham and add that to the pot. Cover with water and simmer until black-eyed peas are tender, about an hour.
  • 2
    Drain beans and ham and set aside. If you're using a ham hock, it'll probably be too tough still to shred. Reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid. If using cubed ham, you can dice it smaller at this point.
  • 3
    In a large stock pot, add your oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions, celery, peppers, jalapenos, and garlic and cook until veggies are tender, a few minutes.
  • 4
    Add spices to veggies and stir well to combine. Then add black-eyed peas and ham hock (or diced ham). Add stock and reserved cooking liquid from beans and bring to a simmer.
  • 5
    Simmer until ham hock is tender, probably another hour. If you're just using cubed ham, you can just simmer for 30 minutes to combine flavors.
  • 6
    Remove hock and shred off as much meat as you can. Return meat and hock to stock pot.
  • 7
    Taste for salt and pepper and season well. Continue to simmer.
  • 8
    Shred your kale or collard greens and add that to the pot. Cook for another 10 minutes (kale) or 20 minutes (collard greens)
  • 9
    Serve over rice or with cornbread.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • Let me start this post by saying straight up that I'm not from the South. It's important to note this because every year for New Year's I make Hoppin' John, a very Southern dish. If you're not familiar with it, it's a stew with black-eyed peas (for good luck!), ham, and veggies. It's absolutely fantastic on a cold winter day. If you are familiar with it, you might think my version is crazy. Maybe I should've called it Hoppin' Jim just to avoid conflict. For example, in my version I used kale instead of the standard collard greens. Some of you may have just spit coffee on your keyboard. I apologize if that offends you, but they have a very similar flavor and texture except kale cooks a bit quicker. That’s a win in my book. I also serve my Hoppin' John over rice instead of with cornbread. This might be the straw that broke the camel’s back for some of you, but I prefer it with rice so that's how I make it. The real backbone of this dish is black-eyed peas and ham. Normally, I use a ham hock for this, but I wasn't able to find a good one so I used some really good ham that I cubed up instead. I'd recommend using a ham hock if you can find one, but either way definitely works.
  • I like to use kale because it only needs about 10 minutes to cook. If you do use collard greens it'll take 30-45 minutes for the greens to get nice and tender so you'll want to add them earlier. Either way you do it, kale or collard, ham hock or cubed ham, have no fear--you're going to end up with a really delicious final product. If you want to try this recipe out, try not to stress too much about the specifics. At the end of the day, it's pretty flexible, so just relax, put the soup pot on, and get ready for the new year!
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