Hoppin' John Recipe
photograph by Matt Hulsman

Yield: 8 servings.

4 slices thick-cut bacon, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, chopped (1½ cups)
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 quarts chicken stock
1 pound dried beans such as cowpeas or black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
1 smoked ham hock or 6 ounces side meat
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup long-grain white rice
4-5 green onions, chopped

In a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon pieces and set aside. Add onions and celery to bacon drippings, and sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add chicken stock, peas, ham hock, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook on medium heat, uncovered, until tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add the rice to the pot, cover, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove pot from the heat, and allow to steam, still covered, for an additional 10 minutes. Add bacon pieces and chopped green onions before serving.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.

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