Friday, December 31, 2010

Black Eyed Peas with Pork and Greens – Good Luck with This!

I love the New Year's day tradition of eating beans and greens to bring luck and prosperity. This video was posted a few years back, and features black-eyed peas, and not one, but three kinds of pork. How can that not bring good fortune?

This is a very old tradition, and I don't mean colonial America old
, I mean really, really old. There are records of black-eyed peas being eaten for good luck on New Year's Day all the way back to ancient Babylonia. It must have worked, because look at all the good fortune that has befallen the middle east since then. Okay, maybe that's not the best example.

This video recipe is my variation on something called "Hoppin' John," which is black-eyed peas, rice, and pork stewed together, usually served with some kind of greens and cornbread. Speaking of which, I highly suggest clicking on my cornbread recipe video and doing this thing right.

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year! May your 2011 be filled with much happiness, and lots of new adventures. Stay safe, party hard, and as always, enjoy!

1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
3 strips bacon, sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound pork neck bones
6 oz smoked ham, diced
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
3 cloves chopped garlic
6 cups water
1 (10-oz can) diced tomato with green chilis
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
cayenne to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 large bunch kale, leaves torn
cooked rice


Anonymous said...

Hello Chef John,

We cannot eat pork. Could this be substituted by beef? If so, what cut (besides beef neck because that is not available where I live)?


Chef John said...

Sure! You can use something like a beef short rib, or even a smoked beef sausage.

Unknown said...

You know it's a recipe which will be well received in Texas when it contains Ro-tel tomatoes. These are a staple in many a church ladies-aid cookbook. I know you didn't mention a brand name, but...

Food Junkie said...

Well shucks, too late to hit the stores for supplies. I will have to hope my lobster is equally lucky tomorrow.
The drawback to substituting the pork will be losing the smoky good flavour of the ham and the bacon. While still tasty without I think it would be missing something. The idea of smoked sausage is good or maybe even a touch of Montreal style smoked meat might be interesting in this recipe or use smoked salt instead of regular. I find smoked salt can do wonderful things to perk up a dish when other smoked flavour is not available. Awesome stuff.
I hope anonymous will try it with beef and let us know how it worked.

Anonymous said...

If you don't eat pork, try it with smoked turkey and "turkey bacon." They're fine substitutes (once you get used to them).

Rita said...

oh, wow! that looks so nice and a hearty dish.

by the way, can i use ro-tel? only, because that's what i have on hand at the moment.

Chef John said...


Anonymous said...

Oh, my gosh - what a fabulous recipe!! The flavor is incredible, complex, and so well balanced. I would never have thought to cook the kale in the Hoppin' John but it's so much better than cooking it separately. Because I could cook at my leisure, letting the contents simmer while I made several sides, there was no pressure and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire preparation. Thank you once again, Chef John. Another winner!

~Carol W. from Belleair, Florida

Teri said...

Thank U sooooo much for this excellent recipe ! I've got it simmering in the slow-cooker this moment and the house is smelling fabulous !
p.s. could find neck bones so i substituted with ham hocks

blogagog said...

Just a head's up. From Southern folklore, On Jan 1:

- blackeyed peas increase luck for the year
- cabbage increases riches
- pork and greens just taste good, but have no 'magic' properties. We eat them anyway. They taste magical.

Jack Reynolds said...

I will be cooking this some time this week. I will use twice as much greens, and I'll serve it over brown rice (Chef John, have you tried Alton Brown's baked brown rice? It's perfect brown rice every time. And it smells like popcorn when it bakes.)

This is also perfect hangover food. When you drink a lot of alcohol, your liver makes a lot of bile, and the fiber in the beans and veg soaks it up and gets rid of it. Kale and other greens also have potent detoxifying properties.

Also, when are you going to do a fan picture day where we all take a pic of a meal we made?

pokercook said...

Any idea how many this will serve as a side dish?

Chef John said...

prob about 8. enjoy!

RKSmith said...

As I live overseas and it is night time, I am presently soaking my peas! Question - no Neck bones or Smoked ham, (do have bacon!) I do have kielbasa as well as a very generous sized ham hock. Should I/can I substitute them for the neck bones and ham? How do I deal with the extra fat from the ham hock? Looking forward to making this tomorrow!

Chef John said...

Any meat works! Just skim the fat off top.

Anonymous said...

was going to try Coq au vin this weekend but I'm doing this instead. The luck promised by the dish is probably a bunch of hooey...but couldn't hurt to try. No rice for me. I'm going with cornbread and collards. I could live off of cornbread and pot liquor. Never cared for the peas but my family would just heat up a can, throw it in a bowl...well you get the picture. This looks really good and has copious amounts of hog in it. Hog is gooood!

Anonymous said...

I followed the Chef's instructions like it was the word of God and this dish was absolutely delicious. The thing is it was a taste I never tasted before. I used Jowl bacon and fresh tomatoes, cause I forgot to pick up a can, and it came out perfect. I couldn't stop eating it. A new tradition this will be in my house. While I do keep a spare artery in my wallet this is something that I would not want to over indulge in...but once a year...why not! Thanks Chef!

Peg said...

Ok Chef John...I just made this and the cornbread and they were both OFF THE CHAIN!!!!! You are making me look so good...but it is causing me a moral dilemma: I want to share you with the world but then my secret will be out!!!! But this blog is too good to keep a secret! So I decided to just make amends for my selfish hoarding of your master chefery instruction this way: I'm chasing down complete strangers and telling them about you! I have only been cussed out twice! But at least now I can sleep at night...

Chef John said...

Lol! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have a dumb question...I made this dish today to be served tomorrow (because of time). It turned out really really good. It looks though like the liquid is absorbing though and I'm concerned there will be next to none left when I warm in tomorrow. If I add some water to it and let it simmer for a little bit, will that be ok? I'm afraid it will just be either watery tasting or overcooked.

Chef John said...

Sorry, but you'll have to play it by ear. It will thicken up the next day, and you will need to add some water probably. Should be fine!

Unknown said...

For those of you looking to substitute pork, use smoked turkey. Smoked turkey necks or smoked turkey legs would work perfectly. It's that smoked taste you would be missing without the bacon, by substituting smoked turkey, you will still get that flavor.

Kilyena said...

Absolutely fabulous! This will be my go to recipe from now on for New Years Day or anytime I'm feeling some black eyed peas! Whole family loved it. It got rave reviews. Thank you Chef John