The classic Southern dish of Hoppin' John gets a colorful and healthy nutritious boost from peppers, scallions and whole grain wild rice. Gluten-free and DELICIOUS!
UPDATE: This post was originally published in January 2016.
It's almost New Years and, like the good Southern girl I am, I have to kick off January 1st right and make black eyed peas on New Years Day.
Hoppin' John is an iconic Southern staple that's so delicious it should most certainly be eaten all year long, not just saved for Day 1!
For all of you out there rolling your eyes and sighing because you secretly (and perhaps deservedly) hate black eyed peas and all of their mushy, chalky lowliness, let me tell you a little secret: I didn't think I liked them either…until I tried Hoppin' John.
Truth be told, most of the simple, muddy blends of black eyed peas and rice I've eaten haven't been worth the good fortune the dish promises. In fact, both Matt and I find the dish to be so bland and paste-like that we usually skip the good luck charm and take our chances.
That was until I came across some souped-up recipes for a dish that more closely resembles a warm bean salad, cooked more al dente than into oblivion, chockfull of vibrant peppers and onions and spiked with flavorful additions, like bacon, garlic and fresh herbs.
Now that is a dish I could get on board with.
So a few years ago, I took to the interwebs for inspiration and came across The Southerner's Cookbook's recipe for Hoppin' John. The bones of the recipe were exactly what I was looking for and with a few changes, I knew I could make black eyed pea lovers out of both Matt and myself.
Add lots of aromatics, punch up the spice level, swap plain rice for more nutritious and flavorful whole grain wild rice (and toast it before cooking for a nutty, buttery note) and cook it all up in savory chicken broth for an extra flavor boost. Some crispy bacon and crunchy fresh scallions and this is one side dish that will be in my rotation long after January.
Try it for yourself and see what you think. Happy New Year!
If you try this Wild Rice Hoppin' John recipe, be sure to share a photo and tag me @rootandrevel on social media–I’d LOVE to see how it turned out for you!
Wild Rice Hoppin' John (Gluten-Free)
- 1 pound fresh black-eyed peas
- 1 slice thick-cut, nitrate-free organic bacon
- 1 yellow onion , halved
- 3 cloves garlic , peeled
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 2 slices thick-cut, nitrate-free organic bacon, diced
- 1 white onion , diced
- 1 organic red bell pepper , diced
- 1 small jalapeño , diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 cup whole grain wild rice
- 2 1/2 cups bone broth
- 6 scallions , sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the black eyed peas:
- In a large Dutch oven, combine the peas, bacon, onion, garlic, and bay leaves with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Note: the peas should be al dente, not mushy.
- Place a colander in a large glass bowl and drain the peas, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard the onion, bacon, garlic and bay leaves. Set the peas aside.
For the rice:
- To the same dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add the diced bacon and cook until crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic and saute until the onions and peppers are soft, about 8 minutes.
- Add the thyme and wild rice and toast the rice for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through to evenly brown.
- Add chicken broth and bump up the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 45-60 minutes.
- Once the rice is cooked through, add the reserved black eyed peas and scallions and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and adjust to taste. If the hoppin' john is too dry, add 1/4 cup at a time of the reserved pea liquid, until the mixture is moist, but not soup-like.
- Serve immediately and enjoy good luck for the rest of the year!