Every New Year’s Eve I think I’m going to make Hoppin’ John, and then I forget because I’m too busy making Roast Pork, Mashed Potatoes, and Sauerkraut, which is the Pennsylvania Dutch version of Hoppin’ John—meaning the good-luck meal you want to eat on New Year’s Day.
Well, this year I made both. But I’m going to let you in on a secret: Since I tasted my Hoppin’ John at every step, I kind of wish I would have stopped after the first step— black-eyed peas and snaps cooked in smoked turkey broth with some salt…now, THAT was delicious. And next New Year’s Day—and other days in between—that’s where I’ll stop cooking. But I’ll give you the whole recipe this time, since that’s only fair.
A funny note is that I needed a green pepper to make the official recipe. I went to my closest market, and it only had chemical green peppers. I picked one up. I put it down. I walked away. I went back and stared at it for a while. I looked for alternatives. But ultimately, I walked back and bought it “for the sake of the recipe.” I will never do that again! It wasn’t worth it. Both for the moral issue and the taste.
Homemade Hoppin’ John
- 1 smoked turkey wing or ham hock
- 6 cups water
- 4 cups black-eyed peas or field peas with snaps
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 green pepper (ORGANIC!)
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 ribs celery
- Chopped parsley
- Dash of thyme (fresh is always better)
- 2 Tablespoons vinegar
- Put the smoked turkey wing or ham hock into the water and boil into a broth—this will take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Then add the black-eyed peas (canned or frozen, which I prefer, but if you have to use dried, follow those instructions before you add them here). Boil for another half hour to an hour and add about a tablespoon of salt. THIS is the moment it tastes best, if you ask me! You can stop right here and be happy! OR…
- In another pan, fry up the green pepper, onion, garlic, celery, parsley, and thyme in butter. Then add the beans and broth (strain out the bones and meat and add the meat back in). Add 2 tablespoons vinegar—essential to it tasting good, if you ask me.
- You can also garnish with pepperoncini, chopped scallions, and of course, hot sauce! Serve with rice.