Possibly the strangest name for a dish, ever. Yet also possibly one of the tastiest dishes, ever.
I tried to look up how the name was derived and in a nutshell, it’s unclear. It could have been named after a hobbling old man named John who sold black eyed peas in the South but it could also just be a catchy a name. Use your imagination!
Ready for a little LYK history lesson?
This oddly tasty yet simple dish began appearing in cookbooks as early as the 1840’s. They (the History Channel) have gathered that slaves made it with a familiar ingredient known as black eyed peas which originated in Africa and the rice which grew plentiful in the river delta areas of South Carolina.
Americans clearly put their own twist on things since then by adding ingredients like ham, bell pepper, Cajun spices and vinegar based hot sauce to give it some more flavor and this I am more than ok with. That salty, smoky ham is so darn addicting!
Get yourself some extra ham. You will want it in your eggs on Saturday morning and in your soup on Sunday evening (split pea anyone?).
This dish is literally the simplest. There are just a few easy-to-find ingredients and it can simmer away as you read by the fire in say…Park City, Utah. Oh, maybe that’s just me.
But you can totally light a fire and read in the comfort of your own home as your Hoppin’ John wafts scents of smoked ham throughout the neighborhood.
Why yes, I did just casually mention that I’m in Park City, Utah right now. A change of scenery, a little snowboarding, and hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps – don’t mind if I do.
1-1 1/2 lb. hickory smoked ham steak, 1/2-in dice (or 1 whole ham hock if you want authenticity!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
2/3 cup green bell pepper, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. dried black eyed peas, rinsed
4 cups chicken broth
3 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cups cooked white rice
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne)
Salt, pepper, to taste
1/4 cup green onions, sliced for garnish
Hot sauce, for serving
Heat oil in a large pot, add the ham and cook until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic, cook for about 4 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas, broth, bay leaf, thyme, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the peas are tender, stir occasionally. If the liquid evaporates before peas are cooked through, add water 1/2 cup at a time until done.
Garnish with green onions and serve over rice with hot sauce.
From the Little Yellow Kitchen,