Nourishing Hoppin John

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Making a big ole pot of hoppin John is New Year’s Day tradition in the South and features two good-luck foods to start the new year: pork and legumes. Our version calls for brown basmati rice so you’ll start the year with a healthy whole grain (and because the rice swells as it cooks, it’s also thought to boost prosperity). This time of year, you can find containers of presoaked black-eyed peas in the produce section of many supermarkets. You also can substitute 2 cups cooked peas or thawed frozen peas. Serve with our Quick Collards (due to their color, greens are thought to bring money in the new year) and Skillet Corn Bread with Tomatoes and Sage.

Nourishing Hoppin John

Yield: Serves 10-12

Nourishing Hoppin John


  1. 4 ounces slab bacon, chopped
  2. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  3. 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  4. 1 carrot, finely chopped
  5. 1-1/2 cups brown basmati rice
  6. 6 cups water
  7. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1/4 teapoon cayenne
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11. 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained
  12. 1 (11-ounce) container refrigerated presoaked black-eyed peas (such as Melissa’s)
  13. Hot sauce (optional)


Cook bacon over medium-low heat in a Dutch oven 10 minutes or until the bacon renders its fat. Increase heat to medium. Add onion, celery and carrot; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add rice, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add water, salt, black pepper, cayenne and bay leaf. Use kitchen shears to cut up the tomatoes; add the tomatoes to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 40 minutes. Stir in black-eyed peas. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until the rice and peas are tender. Remove pan from heat, and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

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