Hoppin' John -- Rice and Black-Eyed Peas

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“I have heard all my life that one should eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck throughout the new year. It wasn't until I was in my early twenties that my father changed the dish from black eyed peas to Hoppin' John as our traditional New Year's Day good luck meal. It's simple, po' foke's food, and I love it any time of the year. In the directions, I will include substitutions to make this dish vegetarian/vegan. Some history of the dish can be found here -- -- It would seem most people cook the rice and peas seperately, and then combine the two to serve. That's how my dad does it. I wanted to cook the flavor of the black eyed peas into the rice. So, this recipe strays a little from the norm, in that I cook the rice with the peas already in the pan.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 12 lb bacon, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (I use a whole package)
  • 1 medium onion, medium dice (a larger one is ok)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, with juice (1 qt if you cook your own peas)
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 14 cup vegetable oil (for vegan)
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke (for vegan)


  1. In a 4 qt or pan brown bacon and cook onion in bacon grease until the onion is transparent. ** For vegan, omit bacon and use approximately 1/4 cup of vegetable oil to cook onion.
  2. Add uncooked rice, black eyed peas (with juice) and water to your bacon onion mixture. Mix well. **For vegan add liquid smoke at this point to replace the smoke flavor that would have been added by the bacon.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium.
  4. When the tops of the bursting bubbles of boiling water are all of the liquid that can be seen above the rice, remove the pan from the heat and cover.
  5. Wait at least twenty minutes, WITHOUT PEEKING!
  6. Don't do it. You'll loose precious heat and steam.
  7. Serve with bread of your choice, or with the veggies of your choice and plenty of hot sauce. Of course, the variety of hot sauce you choose will depend on your tolerance for heat. If you would like, this could be served as a side dish, as well.

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