Chef Confidential

…every pantry has a story

Hoppin’ John…Happy New Year!!!


I could go on and on, about how it’s a New Year, and make a broad resolution to be a better blogger, but I won’t. I would love to be a persistent blogger, extolling my every cooking triumph, or discovery. The truth is working two jobs, kind of sucks the life out you. I am going to try to make it a better year of sharing, it’s all I can do. Meanwhile…Happy New Year, 2015 is going to be amazing!!!

In the South it is a good luck tradition to have black eyed peas and greens for New Year’s Day.  The beans representing coins, and the greens, well of course that is paper money, so lots of greens please. As is the case with many food related traditions, there are variations to theme. This is my favorite version, paired with some fresh cornbread, it is simple comfort food at it’s best.  Fittingly a meal for New Year’s Day, which tends to be a lazy day, that also finds many people recovering from the night before. So get your Hoppin’ John on, and watch some Bowl games!

Warning, using canned or precooked frozen peas will leave you with a fragile, mushy, flavorless paste. Trust me on this one, go old school, used the dried peas, follow the method below. With minimal extra prep time, you are rewarded not only visually, but in the flavor department as well.

I always end up tweaking recipes as I go, even those I have made over and over, today was no different. I actually used Little Smokies, yes those little cocktail weenies, they gave the batch a nice smokiness. I prefer to use Andouille, alas, this year I could not find any, that in the long run would be any better than the Little Smokies. When it was all said and done, I regret not adding a lot more collards, so I adjusted the volume in the recipe.

Now we are down to the cornbread portion. Made in a cast iron skillet, the best way at least I think, the recipe needs some love. It was a new recipe, which will get changed up a bit, and posted later. However, my Grandfather would have approved of the recipe in general, he did not believe that cornbread should have any sugar in it. Also, a side note on cast iron, see that red oven mitt there? Anytime I bake or cook anything in a skillet, the very instant it comes out, I slide a pot holder over the handle. I learned the hard way, awhile ago, it is easy to out of reflex just grab the handle of a skillet. Just as an added bonus, cornbread apparently represents gold, I have totally covered the bases.  Hmmm, what could platinum be, if that was vodka, I just hit a grand slam!



Old School Dried Black Eyed Peas

The night before in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven at least 5 Qt, cover the peas with water, let soak overnight or at least 6 hours. After the soaking, drain the peas and rinse them. Below is the next step, it’s really worth it.

Savory Flavor Black Eyed Peas

Savory Flavor Black Eyed Peas

1 bag soaked black eyed peas

2 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds

1 clove of garlic – leave whole

1 bay leaf

1 carrot, peeled, cut in thirds

Place them back into the pot again cover with water, at least 6-8 cups, add the remaining ingredients. Cover, bring to boil, then slightly tilt the lid, reduce to low, simmer about 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally but GENTLY. Drain peas, discard vegetables. There will more peas than necessary for the Hoppin John, you can use the leftovers in salad, or casseroles. Little known fact, black eyed peas make great hummus.

Now for the good stuff.


Hoppin’ John


3 tbl canola oil

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

4 green onions, diced

1 lb collard greens, fresh or frozen (tough stems removed, washed and shredded)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 lb kielbasa, andouille, or other smoked sausage, sliced.

1 ½ – 2 cups prepared black-eyed peas

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice (I use brown)

4 cups chicken broth


Heat the oil over med heat, add onion and scallions cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the collard greens, salt, black pepper, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the greens wilt, about 1 minute.

Add sausage, black-eyed peas, and rice. cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed, gently stir occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Saute onions, garlic, green onions, in oil.

Saute onions, garlic, green onions, in oil.


Add collards, cook about 2 minutes, until wilted.

Add collards, cook about 2 minutes, until wilted.


Add rice, and sausage

Add rice, and sausage


Cover with chicken broth

Cover with chicken broth


Simmer, covered until liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes

Simmer, covered until liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes


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This entry was posted on January 1, 2015 by in Beef, Pork, Poultry, Holiday and tagged , , , , , .

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