Hoppin' John

from the kitchen of Chef Paul Prudhomme

Makes 16 servings

Here's one of those wonderful Southern dishes with a quaint name and fuzzy origins. Most likely, it was a staple dish of the African slaves on the plantations.
5 slices bacon, cut into small dice
3 cups chopped onions, in all
2 cups chopped green bell peppers, in all
1½ cups chopped celery, in all
4 tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic® OR
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Salt® OR
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Barbecue Magic
3 bay leaves
1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
11 cups chicken stock, in all
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 pound smoked sausage (the best you can find), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 cups uncooked converted rice
how to prepare

Place the bacon in a heavy ovenproof 5-quart pot over high heat and cook until the bacon starts to brown, about 6 minutes.  Stir in 2 cups of the onions, 1 cup of the bell peppers, 1 cup of the celery, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of the Magic Seasoning Blend® of your choice, the bay leaves, and half the black-eyed peas.  Cover and cook, uncovering the pot once or twice to stir, about 10 minutes.  Stir in 2 cups of the chicken stock and the garlic and scrape up any crust that's formed on the bottom of the pot.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.  Add 1 cup more stock and scrape the bottom of the pot clean.  Add the sausage, 6 cups more stock, the remaining 1 cup onions, 1 cup bell peppers, and ½ cup celery, the remaining black-eyed peas, and the remaining Magic Seasoning Blend®.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the peas are tender and creamy, about 1¼  hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Stir the rice and the remaining 2 cups of stock into the black-eyed peas, turn up the heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and bake 15 minutes.

Serve alongside roast chicken and greens.

Copyright © 1991 by Paul Prudhomme

Chef Paul Prudhomme's Seasoned America