Nobody knows the true origin, or beginning, of the name Hoppin’ John, but some believe it may have originated in Louisiana from the French Creole name for pigeon peas, a pea similar to a black-eyed pea. The French Creole term for pigeon peas is “pois a pigeon,” which is pronounced “pwah peeJon.” This may have sounded like “Hoppin’ John” to English speaking Southerners. The dish has been called Hoppin’ John ever since the early 1800s.
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small green pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 can (15 ounces) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels; discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings. Saute pepper, celery and onions in drippings until almost tender. Add rice, water and seasonings. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add peas and bacon; simmer 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaf.