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HOPPIN' JOHN: Williamsburg


The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook
by Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

West Africans almost certainly brought the idea for this mixture of rice and black-eyed peas when they came to the New World as slaves. In the South, eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is said to bring good luck throughout the year.
Serves 8-10


• 8 ounces (2 cups) dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained
• 1/2 pound lean bacon, finely chopped
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 celery rib, finely chopped
• 1 green bell pepper, cored and finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 1/2 cups long-grain rice, rinsed in cold water
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or to taste


Rinse and drain the peas. In a large soup pot or kettle, place the peas and pour in enough cold water to cover by 1 inch, about 6 cups. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the peas are tender, 40-45 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon, stirring often, until crisp and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the onion, celery, and green pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Stir the rice mixture into the peas, cover tightly, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the rice is dry and fluffy, 20-30 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and season with salt and pepper and Tabasco sauce. Add the cooked bacon just before serving.


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