I'm kicking off my brand new retro recipes category with this recipe for Hoppin' John that dates back to the 1800s.
Hoppin' John is a delicious and hearty dish made with black-eyed peas, rice, and bacon and is traditionally served for New Year's celebrations.
**Please Note - The printable recipe card with detailed instructions, complete ingredient measurements, and nutritional information for making Hoppin' John is available at the end of this post. OR you can hit the "jump to recipe" button (found above) to be taken directly to the recipe.
The ingredient list:
**Note - The following lists of ingredients plus kitchen tools and equipment contain affiliate links (highlighted in blue) for your consideration and shopping convenience. #CommissionsEarned
- long grain rice
- chicken stock (or water)
- black-eyed peas
- salt and pepper
- scallions (shown, but not in the original recipe)
Kitchen tool and equipment needed:
- large skillet with a lid
- chef's knife
- cutting board
- wooden spoon
- measuring cups and spoons
- can opener
How this Kudos Kitchen version of Hoppin' John came to be:
I acquired many of my mother-in-law's old cookbooks after she'd passed away.
While it may have taken me many years to finally decide to use (and cook) from them, this is the first "official" retro recipe I've decided to post.
This Hoppin' John recipe comes from the "regional favorites" chapter from the cookbook named The Complete Family Cookbook, published in January of 1970, and found on page 403.
While The Complete Family Cookbook (found at the Amazon affiliate link above) is now considered a collector's item, let me assure you that my copy surely is not, with its ripped-off cover, and many stained and dog-eared pages.
However, to me, my copy is priceless because it was well used and well-loved. And it comes from my mother-in-law's kitchen where she fixed many meals for her big family of ten.
My Hoppin' John adaptations:
Even though I'm following the original recipe somewhat closely, I also needed to put my thumbprint and updated spin on the classic.
Since I had chicken broth in my refrigerator, and also some chopped scallions that I needed to use before they went bad, I cooked the rice in the chicken broth and topped the Hoppin' John with scallions (seen in some of the photos) as a garnish for a little bit of extra color, and flavor.
Other than those two changes, the recipe remains pretty much the same (except for quantities).
How did Hoppin' John get its name?
There are many different versions of how Hoppin' John got its name just as there are as many different versions of the recipe itself.
The one I like best is that the children used to all hop around the table when it was time to eat this dish because they were all so excited.
I have a feeling it's not the most accurate, but that's the one I'm going with.
Where did this bean and rice dish originate?
The first written recipe for Hoppin' John appeared in a cookbook named The Carolina Housewife written back in 1847. The link listed here is for a hardcover facsimile of the original.
Why are black-eyed peas said to be good luck?
Southern history tells it that black-eyed peas represent coins. So by eating them on New Year's Day you'll be bringing good fortune into your life for the entire year.
For more fun facts about Hoppin' John check out the following:
Hoppin' John Recipe and History - What's Cooking America
How to make Hoppin' John:
- Cut the thick sliced bacon into ½" pieces.
- Fry in a large skillet until almost crisp.
- Drain the bacon on paper towels and reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the skillet. Reserve the drained bacon fat for another use.
- Add 1½ cups of long-grain white rice to the skillet and stir well to coat the rice in the bacon drippings.
- Add the chicken broth, salt, and pepper to the skillet and stir well.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the chicken broth is absorbed.
- Add the drained black-eyed peas to the rice and stir gently to combine.
- Spoon the Hoppin' John into a 1½ quart casserole dish and top with the drained bacon.
- Cover and bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Top with chopped scallions (if desired).
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Additional retro recipes you'll also enjoy:
*Grated Sweet Potato Pudding (shown below, and showcased in the featured video).
Old-Fashioned Grated Sweet Potato Pudding tastes a little like a pumpkin, or sweet potato pie, with the full-bodied flavors of molasses, cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg. It’s a rustic dessert that is easy to make using simple ingredients and requires no fancy equipment.
*Vintage Rocks Cookies (shown below)
This vintage cookie recipe dates back to the 1930s. Vintage Rocks Cookies are fast and easy to make and don’t require any special equipment. A large bowl and a spoon will work wonderfully well. After all, if it was good enough for grandma…
*Hoppin' John (shown below) THIS IS THE PLACE!!
Below is the printable recipe card along with the exact ingredient measurements and nutritional information for making today's super simple Southern-born rice and beans dish of Hoppin' John.
When you make this recipe, and I hope you do, I'd appreciate it if you'd take a moment to leave a star rating on the recipe card and briefly comment on why you rated it as you did. FYI - Google appreciates recipe ratings and, in turn, will share my recipes with more people. Thank you so much!!
Printable Recipe Card
- ½ pound thick cut bacon
- 1½ cups long-grain white rice
- 3½ cups chicken broth or stock
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can 15 ounces black-eyed peas (drained)
- ½ cup chopped scallions optional
- Cut the bacon into pieces and cook it until almost crispy in a large skillet. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the skillet.
- Add the rice to the skillet along with the bacon fat. Cook over medium heat stirring to coat the rice with the bacon fat for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
- Cover the skillet and cook until the rice is tender and the chicken broth has been absorbed (approximately 20 minutes).
- Add the drained black-eyed peas to the cooked rice and stir gently to combine.
- Add the rice and beans mixture to a 1½ quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.
- Uncover and top with chopped scallions (if desired).
- Serve hot and enjoy!
I sincerely hope you've enjoyed today's retro recipe for Southern beans and rice as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you!!
Thank you so much for visiting me today in my Kudos Kitchen. I hope you found something you'll love and that you'll come back and visit me often. There is always room for you around my table!
Should you have any questions or comments regarding anything you've seen here on my blog, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. It is always my distinct pleasure to respond to you just as soon as I possibly can.
Until we eat again, I hope you have a delicious day!!