Thursday, December 30, 2010

Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya - Deep South Hoppin' John

Our Deep South version of the lowcountry favorite, Hoppin' John, this Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya contains bacon, ham, spicy smoked sausage, black-eyed peas and rice.

Deep South Hoppin' John

Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya is just the way we down here in The Deep South look at what most other southerners call Hoppin' John, but let me tell you. I have seen lots of folks, from magazines to big bloggers, being scolded by Hoppin' John purists all around the internet here lately for incorrectly referring to a dish of black-eyed peas as Hoppin' John. Yes, and that includes not so big, little ole me and those of the rest of you who also like eating black-eyed peas spooned over rice.

{Southern Hissy fit warning} People get all up in arms about impressing upon others what they think is or is not right or authentic when it comes to food. I have gotten more than one tongue lashing right here on my site from some anonymous persons who insisted on imposing their opinions about how I have made something "wrong" in their eyes.

Now, don't get me wrong... I have a lot of respect for regional dishes - and that is why I don't use the word "authentic" when I make a dish that is endeared to a certain area of the country from whence I am not. I understand the passion though. Even I can get a little stuffy about certain things - like po'boys being all fancied up with artisan breads and sauces, when they are intended to be a simple, working man (or woman's) basic sandwich, Mississippi Comeback Sauce that has a history that deserves more respect than to be referred to as mixed up mayo and ketchup with a bunch of pepper, dirty rice that has no "dirty" to it, or jambalaya that is soupy and gummy and mushy - which it should not be and folks who live in landlocked areas talking about seafood.

But... I don't go into somebody else's kitchen (or virtual website kitchen) and criticize them for how they choose to make something. That's just downright rude. By the way, I pretty much feel that same way when y'all scholarly types try to come here and correct my grammar and spelling. This ain't an English grammar page y'all - just me writin' the same way I talk.

Frankly, I just think folks need to learn to relax, enjoy each other's company and quit the bickering. {hissy fit done pitched}

Anyway... while I think that what really defines a dish as Hoppin' John as simply one that includes black-eyed peas, some kind of pork - generally in the form of sausage and ham - and rice, many say if that rice isn't cooked in with the black-eyed peas, it's not Hoppin' John.

Black eyed peas have been around for a long time, of course, and well before we adopted them and made them a New Year's tradition in The South, and there are many versions of how the name "Hopping John" came to be. I like the one that says it was named by Confederate soldiers who observed the way the peas popped up and down in the kettle while they were boiling. "Hehehe, now, lookie thar, how them thar peas er jus' a hoppin' John."  Yeah. I can totally see that!

So, while I prefer my black-eye peas served over the rice, in the same manner as our beloved red beans and rice, or butter beans, we also do cook them Hoppin' John style, only, in this part of The Deep South, we generally call that jambalaya. So here it is, our Deep South version of the lowcountry favorite, Hoppin' John, or what we call Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya.  While my preference for the new year is black-eyed peas spooned over steaming hot rice, I gotta say... this jambalaya is pretty darned good.

It's not at all difficult to make either. Grab your cast iron Dutch oven - those cook more evenly for this dish - and we'll start with some bacon. That's a pretty good start if ya ask me. Then we'll sweat down The Trinity.

Once the veggies are sauteed down nicely, we'll add in, well... even more pork! Here I used Conecuh, an Alabama smoked sausage, and some diced baked ham.  Yes, we love our Louisiana sausage, but Alabama makes some pretty darned good sausage too. We are so lucky to live here slap dab between the both of them, I swear. After that cooks down a few minutes, stir in the chicken broth and 2 cans of undrained black-eyed peas, and let it come up to a boil.

Add in the raw rice, jalapeno, green onion and seasonings, return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. I mostly prefer doing my jambalayas in the oven, but this one works pretty good on the top of the stove since we're just using sausage and canned peas. Pull it off the heat and set it aside covered, for about 10 minutes undisturbed.

As with all jambalaya recipes, this makes a nice sized pot and will probably feed somewhere around 8 people as a main dish, or quite a few more as an addition on a party buffet - like for that New Year's party.

My last two recipe posts ran close together, so in case ya missed it, be sure to pop over and check out my Greens and Black-eyed Pea Soup that I posted late yesterday. It's a big bowl of warmth I'm telling ya, and would also be a great addition to your New Year's menu.

Recipe: Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya - Deep South Hoppin' John

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 cups of diced ham
  • 1/2 pound of andouille or other smoked sausage, sliced
  • 3 cups of chicken broth or stock
  • 2 cans black-eyed peas, undrained
  • 2 cups of uncooked, long grain rice
  • 1/4 cup of chopped, sliced pickled jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup of sliced green onion
  • 2 pinches of kosher salt, or to taste
  • 10 turns of the pepper grinder, or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama) or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Chow Chow for garnish, optional
  • Hot sauce, for the table

Using kitchen shears, cut the bacon into the bottom of a cast iron Dutch oven and saute until slightly browned. Add the onion, green bell pepper and celery; saute for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the ham and sausage and cook another 3 minutes. Add the broth and black-eyed peas; bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, jalapenos and green onion. Season with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Add the bay leaf and return to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit covered for another 10 minutes before serving. Fluff with a fork.

Serve with Chow Chow and pass hot sauce at the table, if desired.

Red Beans and Rice Jambalaya: Substitute two cans of light kidney beans, drained and rinsed, for the blackeyed peas.


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Greens and Black-eyed Peas Soup
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Posted by on December 30, 2010
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  1. My DH dearly loves Jambalaya so we will try your recipe on New Year's Day. I have a specialty ham that will go with it perfectly :)

  2. MMMMMMM! Definitely these ingredients are going on the grocery list. You're right. This would be a perfect New Year's dish. Thanks so much. I can always count on you to inspire me to improve what goes on my table. I just wish I had some of those yummy local ingredients. Hugs from Utah,

  3. Looks like a dandy New Years luck dish. I'm trying something similar with more peas and less rice that I used you black eyed pea recipe as a starting point.

  4. Mary, most all of your recipes make my mouth water, and this one sure does. Hope you have a very Happy New Year!

  5. Mary - you always have the best recipes. This sounds amazing! Being from TEXAS - always have my black-eyed peas on New Year's!

    Thanks for sharing! Susan

  6. Mary, I made this last night. I couldn't wait for New Year's Eve. It was delicious. THE ABSOLUTE BEST!

  7. I have to say... I LOVE your site! :)

    I am an Oregonian, so good southern food is hard to find around here. In fact there is only really one or two good restaurants in the entire STATE that do it well. So your site has been amazing to me. I made your cornbread stuffing (with the addition of spicy sausage) for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a huge hit both times.

    I'll be making this today. Wifey and I are going to bring some southern tradition into our pacific northwest home by eating black eyed peas on New Years. Thanks for this amazing site!

  8. Hope you enjoyed it Wonky Girl!

    Bev, I am so happy that you made it ahead of time and took the time to come back and let me know you liked it!

    Hey Larry, will have to pop over and see what you created!

    Joyce, love ya gal!!

    Hi Susan, welcome & thanks so much!

    MGR, that is about the best compliment I could ever expect. I hope you enjoyed your southern New Year meal!

    Thanks for reading and Happy New Year everybody!!

  9. We must have been on the same thought wavelength with this one. This is so close to my Hoppin' John version...but that probably should come as a surprise. I commit Southern heresy, however, because I use frozen purple hull peas. We just prefer them over blackeyed peas. I'm headed to the kitchen now to finish off the leftovers with a freshly-made pan of cornbread slathered with butter - -- not margarine! Some of your favorite cookbooks are also mine. I especially love "Who's Your Mama" :)

  10. I cooked this last night and it was so easy and delish! I have always been afraid to make jambalaya, fearing my rice would be too hard or too soft. It turned out wonderful! Thank you!

  11. Hi Amber! So glad you enjoyed it!! Thanks for coming back to say so - I appreciate that!

  12. Made this New Year's Eve and it was great! Only two of us eating it, so I had some left over for the freezer to enjoy on some of these cold January days in North Alabama!

  13. Thank you Christy - I know you'll enjoy that stash from the freezer too on down the line. Thanks so much for stopping by to let me know that you tried this recipe. Happy New Year!

  14. @DeepSouthDish: Made your Black-eye pea jambalaya. Was delicious! Def recommended. My pics: #Southern #Food

    1. Hi Ashia! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and let me know you enjoyed the jambalaya. It's a nice change from the typical chicken or fish on occasion. I couldn't see the picture, but I'm sure it was good looking. Glad y'all enjoyed it!

  15. Just printed this again. Third year in a row for this flavorful dish. Hubbs - who does not like black-eyed peas - loves it. A great start to the new year! Thanks Mary!

  16. I make this every year and have for to many to count. The big difference the one I make always has a great diced tomatoe concoction with. Plus over the years I started serving it all seperately because of picky eaters. I think i'm going back to mixing it all up. It looks best that way. I love cheese on the top of mine to. I'm glad I found your page

    1. Diced tomatoes would be a great add-in. Welcome Devine - I'm glad you found your way here too & hope that you enjoy trying some of my recipes. Happy New Year!

  17. Another winner young lady. You got one lucky hubby dere chere. I let the rice go a bit too long at 30 mins, they split and got a bit mushy. But I like it a bit mushy and the little crust that formed on the bottom of the enamel cast iron pot was an added bonus. I'll add another 5 mins. to the simmering time on the next batch, haha. I followed your recipe to the letter and it was great. Wifey and I enjoy all your post. Thanks and Happy New Year to you and hubby.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it - thanks so much for coming back by to let me know. Happy New Year to you too!

  18. This is similar to how I always made Hoppin' John, I dropped by to see if you had the "traditional" way since I don't know how to make that one (didn't know ours wasn't the "real one" until I moved away from the Coast lol).

    I loved your hissy fit. I saw a recipe for Hoppin' John in a VEGAN cookbook: no meat or animal products at all. The lady used green olive (with other raw veggies) and a vinaigrette packed with fresh herbs for seasoning and served it cold. She said add lemon juice the next day on the left overs to "freshen" them up. I make it in the summer all the time as a cool refreshing lunch. And I have no shame calling it Hoppin John just like Lorna Sass did lol. If you want I'll see if I can dig up the recipe and email it to you.

  19. Making this again :-) Amazing!

    1. I'm so glad to hear that you're enjoying it Amy - thanks!

  20. I made this last night and was amazed at how great it tasted. I definitely will be making it again in the future!

  21. loved the taste of this dish, however it came out gummier than I like the rice to be; any ideas how to prevent this?

    1. Thanks Betty! Yeah, I don't like it gummy either - I actually prefer baking it over stovetop cooking, because on the stove it does that sometimes, so you could try that. Other than that, make sure it's a good quality long grain rice, and if you already used long grain, try another brand, measure the liquids, regulate the heat so it doesn't boil but rather steams, and don't peek and stir while it cooks! (I'm so guilty of this when I make it on the stove & that'll gum it up real quick) I bake my other jambalayas at 350 - roughly 30 minutes or so and I love the way they perform in the oven.

  22. This looks so yummy! What if I want to use dried peas? Do I just pre cook them and then proceed with the recipe as if using canned peas?

    1. Yes, exactly! Kind of cook them so that they are cooked through, but a little more firm than soft though - you don't want them mushy.

  23. Read about the tongue lashings you get! I have to call UNFAIR! I cook from scratch 99 percent of the time...and the way I see it is...if ya don't like it...don't eat it! and that usually settles that! Besides cooking is all about experimentation and being somewhat adventurous!

    1. Exactly!! Thanks for the support :) I go off on these little tangents on occasion - I call 'em hissy fits. I guess they are entertaining LOL but at least it lets me get some things off of my chest!

  24. Hey there, Mary! Found this just in time for tomorrow. REALLY liking the idea; was wondering how I, in my singular household (and having grown up in a huge family where I did the cooking but never had to EAT all the darn stuff) would be eating all my proper New Years foods this year.

    I lived in Ocean Springs for a while; wish we could move back! Biloxi is a great place, and you're right, MAN do I miss the food. So much good seafood. We ain't got any good seafood up here in the middle of Georgia. ugh.

    Happy New year! Hope you have a spectacular one, and thanks for this!

    1. You're welcome & hope you enjoy the jambalaya Amber! Things have changed a bit here thanks to Katrina, but we're slowly coming back. It's just different now but it's still home!

  25. This sounds delicious. I will be adding diced tomatoes too. I'm also thinking about adding cabbage to it too!

    1. That sounds good to me! I actually have a cabbage jambalaya but it hasn't made it to the blog yet, so I think that the cabbage would be a great addition here too! Happy New Year!

  26. Happy Christmas, Mary! Thanks for your recipe, the little change and your meal is on holiday table, my Redmond 4500 multicooker was not stopping yesterday, and your recipe was made too, thanks!

    1. You're welcome & please let me know how you adapted for your multicooker for this one if you have time! I have one I got a few Christmases ago - not that brand - but I use it for rice constantly because it cooks it perfectly. The capacity is much smaller than my big Dutch oven though, so I need to experiment a bit more with it.

  27. Mary! Thank you for the most awesome recipe! I made this tonight and we loved it!
    I used Alaskan Reindeer Sausage cause that is what I prefer here in AK :)
    I cannot wait to look up more of your recipes, thanks!!!


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