Hoppin' JohnThis is a classic dish that, although it can be found across the South, it is mostly associated with the Atlantic states. Like many such dishes it is believed to have originated among the slaves brought to the region to work the rice plantations. And it remains a mainstay of classic "soul" food.
It has a particularly strong association with New Years in that making Hoppin' John the first thing you eat during the New Year - even to the point of being the first thing you consume after midnight - is good luck.
Soak, rinse, and drain dried black-eyed peas. Place black-eyed peas in a large soup pot over medium-high heat and cover with cold water; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 to 2 hours. Drain and rinse beans.
Using the same large soup pot, over medium-high heat, add soaked black-eyed peas, bacon or ham hock, onion, and red pepper. Add water or chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the peas are tender (do not boil as the beans will burst).
Remove bacon or ham hock and cut into bite-size pieces. Return meat to pot. Stir in rice, cover, and cook 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
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