28 of December 2019


NEW    YEAR'S    DELICACY OF THE SOUTH   (South Carolina)

All over the south of the United States, this modest dish with beans with a black eye, rice, and pork, served with cornbread and greens, is a New Year's delicacy for good luck. According to the XIX century tradition, greens resemble paper money, beans - coins, cornbread craved for gold... If you add tomatoes - you will be healthy all year. Some families, wanting to increase the potential of "happiness" of their dish, put a penny under the plate or add a larger portion of pork.

The origin of the name is very contentious and I hesitate to agree
with any of the proposed etymologies. Some say an old, hobbled man called Hoppin’ John became known for selling beans and rice on the streets of Charleston. Others say slave children hopped around the table in eager anticipation of the dish. One is basically certain - the dish came here along with slaves, of whom there were tens of thousands in Charleston and the neighboring rice plantations from the 17th and 18th centuries. West Africans have long known the cultivation and cooking of rice, and this special bean variety (Cajanus), a favorite in all of Africa, quickly moved to the tropical Caribbean environment, where so many Africans were sent for the first time. Many of them dealt with kitchen cooking, preparing meals and traditional dishes, known only to black cooks at the time, found themselves on American tables, undergoing certain modifications over time. Karen Hess, a renowned American culinary arts researcher,
in their South Carolina rice treaty (The Carolina Rice Kitchen - The
African Connection) she also devoted a lot of space to "Hoppin 'John", but you don't have to be a historian to understand that slaves taught culinary masters to rave about this simple dish.
"One pound of bacon, one pint of red peas, one pint of rice" - this is how Sarah Rutledge, daughter of Edward Rutledge (signatory of the Declaration of Independence) began the recipe for "Hoppin 'John" in her 1847 cookbook entitled The Carolina Housewife. This is probably the first written evidence of this unquestioned Lowcountry dish - South Carolina.

Today, this dish is also found on the New Year's menu of multi-star hotels, although chefs do not believe in prophecies, they like taste combinations. I suspect that the fascination with a dish is one part of foodies, two parts of taste pleasure and ninety-seven parts of the tradition. And let it be. I myself am a supporter of traditional prediction.

Abundance in the New Year, with beans with a black "eye" or without .

Hoppin' John smoked turkey thighs

INGREDIENTS (10 servings):


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapenos, stemmed and deseeded, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 smoked turkey thighs, skin removed
1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
1-quart low-sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 teaspoon salt
Salt, black pepper and cayenne to taste
1 cup green onion, chopped
4 cups freshly steamed white rice


Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, jalapenos, and garlic, and cook until opaque and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the turkey thighs, peas, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 40 minutes, or until peas are creamy and tender. If liquid evaporates, add more stock or water. Adjust seasonings, and garnish with green onions. Serve hot over rice.

Classic Hoppin' John with bacon

INGREDIENTS (6 servings):


6 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped 

4 celery stalks, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups) 

1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups) 

1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

3 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 

8 cups lower-sodium chicken broth 

4 cups fresh or frozen black-eyed peas

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups uncooked Carolina Gold rice 

Fresh scallions, sliced


  • Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until starting to crisp, about 10 minutes. Add celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Add broth and black-eyed peas and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until peas are tender about 40 minutes. Drain pea mixture, reserving cooking liquid. Return pea mixture and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to Dutch oven. Cover to keep warm; set aside.

  • Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the reserved cooking liquid and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until rice is tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, and gently stir into pea mixture in a Dutch oven. Stir in the remaining cooking liquid, 1⁄4 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Sprinkle servings with sliced fresh scallions.


  • bacon can be replaced with ham or smoked sausage, diced; the principle of preparation is the same as a classic dish ...

  • if on a classic dish we put shrimps fried in olive oil (6 portions - 750 grams) in paprika and garlic powder, we will receive another dish "Shrimp Hoppin 'John";

  • adding a can (or two - depending on the size and need) of chopped tomatoes to the beans, and finally adding chicken broth, we will get the Hoppin 'John soup, as tasty as a classic dish.


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