Vegan Hoppin’ John

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This New Year's staple can be eaten any day of the year.

Vegan Hoppin' John
Photo:

Fred Hardy / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Shell Royster

Active Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
Soak Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
10 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
6 servings

Hoppin’ John is a cozy Southern classic dish that is traditionally served on New Year's Day for good luck; the peas are said to ensure prosperity for the coming year. Hoppin’ John has roots in the African diaspora. Classic versions of this stew include bacon or a ham hock. This recipe is made vegan by omitting the ham hock and using ingredients like garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder, and tomatoes to provide savory, nutty, spicy notes to each bowl.

How to Make Hoppin’ John

Start with dried black-eye or red peas that are soaked overnight and then cooked until tender with aromatics like garlic and thyme. Drain and reserve the peas while you prepare the greens and rice; cooking the beans separately keeps them from becoming too mushy in the pot. Cook the ginger, onion, and garlic in oil, then add the turmeric and curry powder to bloom the spices in the oil and infuse their flavors into the aromatic mixture. This will act as the base of flavor for the stew. The tomatoes, bean cooking liquid, broth, and coconut milk intensify the savory flavors in the pot, as well as the collard greens added later. Served with Carolina Gold rice, this is a hearty and comforting dish with which to welcome the new year.

Ingredients

Hoppin’ John

  • 1 pound dried black eyed peas or Sea Island red peas, soaked 8 to 12 hours (preferably Marsh Hen Mill or Anson Mills)

  • 2 (4- to 5-inch) fresh thyme sprigs

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 2 tablespoons, plus a pinch kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • 2 teaspoons refined coconut oil or olive oil

  • 1 small (6 ounce) white onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (from 1 [4-inch] piece)

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic (from 2 garlic cloves)

  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

  • 3 cups vegetable stock

  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can coconut milk, well shaken and stirred

  • 1 large (18 ounce) bunch collard greens or kale, stemmed and sliced into thin ribbons (about 9 cups)

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Rice

  • 6 cups spring or filtered water

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup (7 ounces) Carolina Gold rice (preferably Anson Mills)

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Prepare the Hoppin’ John:

  1. Drain soaked peas; place peas in a large pot, and pour cold water to a depth of 4 inches to cover peas. Add thyme, garlic cloves, and 2 tablespoons of the salt.  Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, undisturbed, until peas are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove pot from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid; set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low; add onion, and cook, stirring constantly, until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add ginger, red pepper, finely chopped garlic, and remaining pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and just starting to brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Add curry powder and turmeric; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add tomatoes to Dutch oven; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, darker in color, and reduced in size, about 10 minutes. Add stock, coconut milk, and reserved 2 cups cooking liquid; bring to a boil over medium. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and sauce thickens a bit, about 20 minutes. Add peas, and cook, undisturbed, over medium-low until peas are lightly coated, about 10 minutes. Gently fold greens into peas, and remove Dutch oven from heat (greens will cook from residual heat). Season with additional salt to taste; top with 1 or 2 grinds of pepper.

Prepare the Rice:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Bring water and kosher salt to a boil in a heavy-bottom 3 1/2-quart saucepan over high; stir in rice. As soon as water returns to a boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until rice is just tender with no hard starch at its center, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain rice in a fine-holed colander, and rinse well with cool water. Shake colander to drain excess water.

  3. Bring water and kosher salt to a boil in a heavy-bottom 3 1/2-quart saucepan over high; stir in rice. As soon as water returns to a boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until rice is just tender with no hard starch at its center, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain rice in a fine-holed colander, and rinse well with cool water. Shake colander to drain excess water.

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