Hoppin’ John

Hoppin John

I’m a sucker for celebrity chef endorsements. I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought a pair of shoes or any other non-food item because someone said I should. But when a well-respected chef or foodie-type says that I should try cooking with something, I buy it immediately.


Season 2, Episode 3 of Mind of a Chef is titled Rice. (Yes, I’m still talking about Mind of a Chef – it’s awesome.) The way that chef Sean Brock talks about Carolina Gold Rice is mesmerizing. Conveniently, Greg and I recently went on vacation with his family to South Carolina! Guess what we came home with? Carolina Gold Rice. Lots of it – thanks to my future in-laws who surprised me with several bags of it :)

Black eye peas

Hoppin’ John is a traditional southern, or low country, dish made with black-eyed peas (or field peas) and rice. There are several variations but most include onion, peppers and some sort of pork – bacon, ham hock, fatback. It’s a southern tradition to each Hoppin’ John on New Years Day for good luck!


For my version, I added some extra vegetables and left out the pork. Should I have left the pork out? Probably not.

Veggies and Peas

It starts like a soup but you let it cook down until the peas suck up most of the broth. If it dries up before the peas are cooked through add some extra broth and taste to check your seasoning. I even added a teaspoon of cornstarch at the end to thicken it up just a bit. I like the way the thick broth sticks to the rice.

Hoppin John 2

Hoppin’ John

  • Serves 5-6
  • Prep Time 15 minutes (plus 6 hours for soaking peas)
  • Cook Time 45 minutes


Hoppin' John

1 ½ cups dried black-eyed peas
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 peppers, diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup cubed butternut squash
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
4 cups rice, cooked

Sautéed Kale (for serving)

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
¼ teaspoon salt


Rinse the black-eyed peas. Put peas in a medium bowl and cover with a couple inches of water. Soak overnight (or at least 6 hours).

In large stock pot, add butter and olive oil. Add garlic, onion, pepper, celery, carrot and butternut squash. Cook for about 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add thyme, chipotle chili powder, oregano, paprika, black pepper, bay leaves and salt. Stir well and cook for additional 3-5 minutes. Add broth and drained black-eyed peas and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until peas are tender and broth has reduced, about 30 minutes. (Can take longer if peas haven’t soaked long enough).

Prepare rice and kale while vegetables and peas cook. Cook rice according to package instructions. For kale, add butter and oil olive to skillet. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Add kale and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 10 minutes.

To serve, plate kale, top with rice and Hoppin’ John.


  1. Greg DiPietro

    Wow, rice and beans are the most exciting ingredients but you bring them to life here!

  2. Ann Hoge

    Really looks good. Do you suppose I could substitute white River Rice? Did anyone tell you why this dish is called Hoppin’ John?

  3. Cathy D

    I watched this episode of Mind of a Chef this weekend. I will be using my Carolina Gold for Hoppin’ John soon, I like your rendition of the additional vegetables in place of the meat. I also wondered about the name? (Loved that Chef said he could eat this every day!)


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