Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is a big fan of the one-pot recipe. And though my drive to serve greens would force me to serve this with a side of collards, Hoppin’ John is one of those classic recipes that fits this bill. One of my favorite versions is Bill Smith’s dish at Crook’s Corner. I got close this time, with the help of some sausage.
Honestly, I kept craving this dish, and the leftovers kept getting better. Very easy, very satisfying, and makes a good amount.
Easy Hoppin’ John Recipe
1 lb sausage, flavor of your choice (I had local bratwurst from Brinkley Farms at hand, so I used that; chorizo would also be lovely, as would any Cajun-type sausage), crumbled or cut into chunks
1 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
dash of salt
dash of ground black pepper
dash of thyme
1/2 can diced tomatoes, no-salt added type
1 can of black-eyed peas, rinsed (sue me, but I didn’t have any more scratch-cooked ones on hand, and these worked beautifully)
shredded cheese, I would say optional, but it really isn’t
3 scallions, white and green parts, sliced, also not optional
hot sauce, preferable
1 batch of white rice, cooked (your choice on the top, but I used standard grocery store rice here)
1. In a medium skillet, brown the sausage, breaking into bite-sized chunks as necessary. When cooked, set aside on paper towels to drain, reserving just enough grease to cover the bottom of the pan.
2. Saute the onion and garlic in the sausage grease over medium heat until softened, about 2 or 3 minutes. Season with a bit of salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir for a few seconds. Add tomatoes and black-eyed peas.
3. Add the reserved sausage back to the skillet, stir, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat and let the flavors meld, amount of time is up to you, but I would recommend at least 10 minutes. Cover as needed to prevent drying out.
4. When serving, and this is important, don’t pour the black-eyed pea mixture over the rice until the very last minute. Once you top it, add the cheese and scallions. Do not omit them, I don’t know why, but it changes the dish a lot if you do. Serve warm.
I like mine with a smidge of Frank’s Hot Sauce (apologies to my hometown Texas Pete, but that’s a blog for a different day.)
Are you a fan of Hoppin’ John? The one-pot meal? Post your comments below, don’t hold back.
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Tomorrow, Biscuits, Reviewed: Neal’s Deli in Carrboro.