If ever we needed some luck in the new year, this is the year! Though I’m not a superstitious person, I’ll take all the help I can get to get 2021 started on the right foot, so I made my take on H...oppin’ John. Hoppin’ John is a famous dish from the South made from pork, rice, and black eyed peas. The dish is traditionally eaten on New Year’s day and is seen as good luck for the rest of the year to come. The good luck story probably originated in Africa, where black eyed peas were often eaten for luck on auspicious occasions. Brought to America by enslaved people, the tradition stuck, though it morphed over time, likely mixing with superstitious European New Year’s practices. The black eyed pea eventually became a lucky food eaten every January 1st. Peas, cornbread, and pork all came to represent wealth, health, and prosperity for the new year. The Gullah culture of the southeast is thought to have invented the actual dish of Hoppin’ John, and though no one is sure of where the name came from, many hypothesize that it is a bastardized form of ‘pois pigeons’. Fried up as leftovers the next day, the dish becomes Skippin’ Jenny. My Hoppin’ John was made with cast iron seared centre-cut pork loin rather than the traditional smoked hock, bacon, or jowl, and the pork was added last minute to maintain its crunchy exterior. The bread was made out of stone ground Southern corn grits and buttermilk, cooked in the oven in my other cast iron pan. It pays to have two! Whether or not this dish gave me luck, it did a great job at soaking up my epic hangover; all the more reason to eat it the day after New Year’s Eve! www.theintrepideater.comRead more
This simple dish of black eyed peas, rice, and pork is eaten for good luck every New Years Day in the American South. This is my take on Hoppin' John and not necessarily the traditional recipe for it.
- 1 cup dried black eyed peas
- 2 onions, one halved and one sliced
- 1/2 tbs kosher salt
- 1 cup white rice, uncooked
- 1 thick cut, pork loin chop
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 green onion, sliced on the bias
Old Fashioned Cornbread
- 1 3/4 cup yellow corn grits or stone-ground cornmeal
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cup buttermilk, OR 2% milk with 2 tbs lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbs melted pork lard, OR melted butter, OR vegetable oil
- Cover dried black eyed peas with water, add the halved onion and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook for about an hour, or until they are tender, but not bursting.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice as per package instructions.
- Generously salt and pepper the pork chop and sear it on medium high in a cast iron pan. Turn it regularly and cook until the centre reads 140°F (60°C) and the outside has become golden brown. Once done, let the chop rest for about 5 minutes.
- While the chop is resting, fry the sliced onion in the pork fat that has rendered into the pan. Fry until the onion is golden, 5 or 6 minutes.
- Drain the beans and add them to a large bowl. Add the rice, fried onions, any drippings left in the pan you used to fry the onions and pork, and the garlic powder.
- Cut the cooked pork chop into cubes, then add those to the bowl as well as any juices that came out during resting. Mix everything together well.
- Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Enjoy!
- FOR THE CORNBREAD: Preheat oven to 450°F with the rack towards the top of the oven. Grease up a cast iron pan and put it in the oven while it preheats.
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients with a fork until well combined. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then add the buttermilk and fat/oil.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir it all together. This will be a batter consistency rather than a dough-like consistency. Mix only until everything has been combined, don't over mix.
- Remove the cast iron pan from the oven (always leave a towel on the handle so you don't forget and grab the handle and burn yourself!) and pour in the batter. Give the pan a gentle shake to settle the batter into every nook and cranny, then put it back into the oven.
- Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve with butter. Enjoy!