Hoppin’ John

Black Eyed Peas (Bean)

Black Eyed Peas (Bean)

by Cat, June 2008 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Legumes (About) (on my main website); 2Beans & Other Legumes: Soaking & Sprouting; 3. White Rice; 4. Steamed Brown Rice; 5. Cajun Skillet Beans (Black Eyed Peas and Bacon)

Mmm, the mention of black-eyed peas makes my stomach growl in anticipation of beans in a rich skillet sauce.  They are really a bean, but both beans and peas are legumes; and both benefit, nutritionally, by an overnight soak or by sprouting, before cooking.

A staple of American slaves, black-eyed peas are an essential ingredient in ‘hoppin’ john,’  a dish of black-eyed peas, rice and pork.

Hoppin’ John

This is the real deal “soul food,” created by early slaves in the American south, primarily the Carolinas.  I’ve adapted this recipe from southern food.about.com (1) (originally from Eric V. Copage’s book, “Kwanzaa, An African-American Celebration of Culture And Cooking”).

The original recipe uses converted (white) rice, but you can make it with brown rice if you prefer.  Follow instructions for Steamed Brown Rice, using amounts indicated in the recipe note, below.

For the sausage, I would not use spicy Italian sausage–it has the wrong flavors.  Here are a few options:

  • Pork Boudin (3) is perfect, but may be hard to find. Andouille (3) is another hard to find option.  Both of these come in casings; you would need to squeeze out the sausage.
  • Make your own Pork Boudin:  see recipe at great cajun cooking.com (make it without the rice and casings, for use in Hoppin’ John).
  • Bulk breakfast sausage could be used; stir in some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne powder to heat it up a bit.
  • Use ground pork and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne or crushed red peppers.
  • Use ham hocks or slab bacon instead of the sausage, then spice up the dish with crushed red peppers.  After cooking, remove the hocks or bacon and cut into bite-size pieces.

This is not a vegetarian recipe, but could be adapted by using veggie broth and omitting the pork.  Adding a little Tamari sauce or Bragg’s Aminos would enhance the flavor, in the absence of pork.

Ingredients & Equipment:

Soak Beans

  • ½ lb dried black-eyed peas (or butter beans)
  • warm filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice per quart water

Cook Beans

  • ½ pound spicy pork sausage (see text above for options)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or more, to taste)
  • 1 quart water or chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt (or more, to taste)


  • 2 cups homemade chicken broth *
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 ½ cups long-grained converted rice *
  • ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt (or more, to taste)

* NOTE:  Alternately you can make Steamed Brown Rice, using 1 cup brown rice and 2 ¼ cups broth instead of water.


  • large bowl
  • 3-quart saucier or cast iron Dutch oven
  • serving bowl


Soak Beans

  1. Cover beans with warm water.  Stir in lemon juice and leave in a warm place overnight (24 hours).  Check after a few hours, adding more water as necessary.
  2. Drain & rinse beans.

Cook Beans

  1. Cook sausage, onion and garlic in saucier or Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring often to break up sausage.  Cook until it loses its raw look, about 10 minutes.  Pour off excess fat.
  2. Add soaked peas, water (or stock), red and white peppers.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer, covered until peas are tender, about 1 ¼ hours.  Stir in salt.


NOTE: if using brown rice, see Steamed Brown Rice for instructions.

  1. Meanwhile, bring broth, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Add rice, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Fluff.

Assembly or Serving ideas

  • Transfer cooked rice to a large bowl.  Pour beans over and mix well.  Alternately, put a scoop of rice on the plate; top with beans.
  • Or serve with cornbread instead of rice


  1. Southern Food.about.com Hoppin’ John recipe (southernfood.about.com/cs/blackeyedpeas/a/hoppingjohn.htm)
  2. great cajun cooking.com boudin sausage recipe (greatcajuncooking.com/recipes/recipe.php?163)
  3. Pork boudin and Andouille sausages (cajunmarket.com/cajun-sausage-c-45.html)

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