Have you ever heard of Hoppin' John? If not, you aren't alone! Until a week ago, I didn't have a clue. Now, I'm sad for all the wasted time not making this incredible dish!
I realize that sounds a little dramatic, but it's the truth! I'm sad about all the years that I missed out on this delicious dish! If I am 100% truthful with you (which I always am), I didn't like the sound of this recipe one bit! Thank you, Patricia, you have changed my life with this recipe! It's so good!
It sounded weird. I have always thought black eyed peas sounded weird and have never before eaten them until yesterday. That's right, yesterday!
A few weeks ago, Jeff sent me a message and suggested that I create a recipe using black eyed peas and collards. No thanks. I'll pass. Who really eats that, anyway? Then, Patricia posted in our Facebook group, Ninja Foodi 101, asking if I might consider creating a recipe for Hoppin' John. Hoppin' Who? I had no clue who or what this was. Thank you, Google, for always being my friend!
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So, Hoppin' John, as it turns out, is a dish made from... wait for it... black eyed peas and collard greens (sometimes, anyway)! Yes, I did hear, "I told you so," from Jeff.
Anyway, black eyed peas and collard greens suddenly sounded like fun! Hoppin' John, love it! I'm making it! With only 4 days left until January 1, 2020, I didn't have much time and I still had other recipes to finish. Would I, could I, possibly get this done? I did! It's perfect. Better than perfect, it's one of the best things I have tasted in my life! Not kidding!
What is Hoppin' John?
I am certainly no expert on this questions, since I didn't know myself until a week ago! What I did find out, from my quick research is it is a dish that is a Southern New Year's Day tradition and can be made a variety of ways.
The only ingredient that I saw in every single recipe or mention about Hoppin' John is the black eyed pea. Everything else seemed to be up to you, but there was a certain feel to the recipe. Most people used a smoked meat product of some sort, usually smoked ham or smoked turkey. Collard greens were pretty common, but not every recipe has them. The onions and green pepper seemed pretty standard.
Black eyed peas have been a New Year's Day tradition for as long as I've been alive and they are thought to bring luck in the new year. I had not heard about the collards before and read that their green color is symbolic of good fortune and wealth in the new year. Sounds like a good plan. I'm including collards in my Hoppin' John recipe for sure.
I'll be frank with you, I wasn't super excited to make this recipe. I knew I should, but I pretty much knew I wasn't going to like it. Where is the flavor coming from? I realize that the ham and ham hock or smoked turkey gives flavor, but I was not sold at all.
Still, I knew I was making it and it will be what it will be. I was super excited to be able to say, I've made Hoppin' John. It's a fun name! There are speculations about the name and if you want to read about it, I'll link to the article I found right here: History of Hoppin' John
What size Ninja Foodi can I make this in?
Any of them! There are three sizes of the Ninja Foodi now and this recipe will work in any of them! If you have the 6.5qt or the 8 qt, follow the recipe as written. If you have the 5 qt Ninja Foodi, you will have to make a few changes and this is what you want to do:
Cook the rice separately. At least for now (I'm ordering at 5qt Ninja Foodi to try to figure out some layering options), making the rice at the same time isn't feasible because you don't have the rack. There is one way that I thought of and if you want to try it, let me know if it works. You could set your pan filled with rice right on the top of the Hoppin' John and see if that works. If you don't want to do that, then cook the rice separately.
Decrease the Ingredients. I might change my mind about this one after I get my 5 qt model, but, for now, I recommend cutting everything in half, except the ham hock of course. Honestly, I think the entire recipe will fit just fine, BUT because I don't want you to run into any issues, I'll suggest this for now.
Increase the time some. If you are making the rice separately, there is no need to do two separate pressure cook times. I suggest setting the initial time for 14 minutes with a 5-minute natural release.
That's it. Happy Cooking!
How spicy is this Hoppin' John?
I would consider it mild to moderately spicy. The spiciness really depends on your jalapeno pepper. Some are super spicy and others are as mild as a green pepper. What I recommend doing is tasting a bit of the pepper before deciding how much, if any, to add. This also helps you make the decision about adding the seeds and the rib or pith (white part), which contain most of the heat.
You can 100% control the spice in this dish by omitting, adding some, or adding more jalapeno pepper.
The Chorizo is not spicy, so don't be concerned about that at all. It is full of flavor though and I really hope you use it!
Mexican or Spanish Chorizo?
Until I created this recipe, I had never even heard of Spanish Chorizo or at least I can't recall ever using it. Apparently, there are two different kinds of Chorizo, Mexican and Spanish.
According the brief research (thanks Google) I did, Spanish Chorizo is usually smoked and is mostly used in recipes that tell you to slice it. It's a cooked sausage.
The Mexican variety is not cooked. It is ground pork (or beef) that has been very well seasoned, but has to be cooked before eating. I'm sure both are delicious, but for this recipe you want to get the Mexican Chorizo.
Brand won't matter, so don't worry too much about that. I could only find one kind at my local grocery store and it worked out wonderfully. The type I purchased did not have a casing on it, but if yours does, just cut the top and squeeze the raw sausage into the inner pot.
I am certain that many of you reading this know more about Chorizo than I do and I welcome any and all feedback! I love to learn, so if you have something to teach, leave me a comment or drop me an email at Louise@thesaltedpepper.com.
Can I use precut bagged Collard Greens in Hoppin' John?
Yes, of course! In fact, that is probably what I would have gotten had I not run smack dab into this display of gorgeous looking collard greens! The precut bagged collard greens are a little more expensive, but sometimes it's worth it.
Many times fresh collard greens need to be washed A LOT to remove all the grit from the leaves. Thankfully, mine were the cleanest collard greens I'd ever seen and, although I did triple wash them, the water looked as clean as before I started.
The only advantage, besides price, for using fresh collards over precut bagged, is you can determine how big you cut them. AND, you can use the stem, like I did for texture.
Collard greens are a lot like spinach in the way they reduce in size. So, even though it seems like there is a ton of collard greens in a bag, there won't be after cooking. Since they reduce down so much, I like to keep my collard greens in bigger pieces so they don't get lost in the dish.
Do I have to use a Ham Hock for Hoppin John?
No, you don't. You can use a ham bone or a smoked turkey leg. Some people use a hog jowl. I'm sure there are many other types of meats/bones you could use for flavor. Honestly, you don't have to use any ham or ham bone or any meat at all.
I would definitely increase the spices if you skip all the meat since that is what gives the Hoppin John so much flavor. If you want to do a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock and bump up those spices. I would add mushrooms and other veggies you enjoy, as well.
How to Make Hoppin' John in the Ninja Foodi
The first thing I always recommend is prepping your ingredients and having everything ready to go. Chop the onion and green pepper into ¼-½" dice. Slice the celery into ½"slices. Slice the jalapeno pepper into ¼" slices. Mince the garlic. Chop the ham. Chop the collard greens if using uncut. I like to cut the collards into 2" strips. I also use the stems for added texture.
Rinse the rice under cold water ( I use a fine sieve strainer) until the water runs clear. Allow to drain until you are ready to use it.
Turn the Ninja Foodi on high sear/sauté and add in the Chorizo. If your Chorizo has a casing, remove the casing by cutting the top and then just squeeze the Chorizo into the inner pot. Add the onions, green peppers, celery, jalapeno pepper. Sauté on high for about 10 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent the Chorizo from sticking to the pot.
Once the vegetables are sautéd for about 10 minutes, add in the spices and stir. Then add the ham bone and the black eyed peas. Stir again. Deglaze the pot with the chicken stock. Add in half of the cut collard greens. You can add them all in at this time if you want all of the collards to be very soft. I only noticed a slight difference, but it was enough for me to continue to add in the remaining half when we cook the rice.
Stir the collard greens into the liquid and put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure to high for 10 minutes. When the time is up, release the remaining pressure and open the lid. Add in the cut up ham and the remaining collard greens. I like to add in the cut up stems for some added texture, but this is completely optional. Give the mixture a little stir.
Add the rice to you pan. Now, you can use any pan that is pressure safe as long as it fits on the rack in the high position. Check that first. The pan I use is the 6'x 2' Fat Daddio pan. It holds 2 cups of rice and fits perfectly on the rack in high position for pressure cooking. I really recommend you pick up one 8' x 2' Fat Daddio Pan and one 6" x 2" Fat Daddio pan if you are going to be doing a lot of layered cooking. In my experience these two sizes give you the most flexibility.
Add the rinsed rice to the 6" pan and add 2 cups of water. Place the rack into the inner pot and nestle it down until the legs hit the bottom. Place the pan with the rice on the rack. Do not cover. Place on the pressure lid and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure for 2 minutes. When the time is up, allow the pot to naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes. Then, manually release the remaining pressure. Remove the pressure lid.
Immediately remove the rice from the pan and put it into a large bowl. Fluff with a fork. This is important so the rice doesn't overcook and start to get gummy. Add the rice to bowls, ladle the Hoppin John over the rice. Enjoy!
Hoppin' John in the Ninja Foodi
- 4 ounces Mexican Chorizo
- 1 onion sweet onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 green pepper
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ham hock
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 8 ounces black eyed peas dried (about 1 ¼ cup)
- 4 cups collard greens divided in recipe
- 8 ounces ham
- 2 cups Basmati Rice
- 2 cups water
- Add the 4 ounces of Chorizo to the inner pot and turn the sear/sauté on high.
- Dice up the onion and green pepper into ¼-½" dice. Slice the jalapeno pepper. Mince the garlic. Chop the ham into small chunks. Chop up collard greens if needed. If using uncut collards, reserve the stems too. Rinse the black eyed peas.
- Add the onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, and jalapeno pepper, into the inner pot and sauté for 10 minutes, stir frequently to prevent the Chorizo from sticking.
- Add in the spice blend and stir to combine with the vegetables. Add the rinsed black eyed peas, ham hock, and 3 cups of chicken stock. Add in 2 cups of the collard greens. Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
- While the Hoppin John is pressure cooking, rinse rice really well until the water runs clear.
- When the first pressure cook is completed, immediately release the pressure and remove the lid. Add in the remaining collard greens and stems if using. Add in the ham and stir.
- Place the rack in the high position and make sure the legs hit the bottom. Put the rice in the 6" x 2" Fat Daddio pan and add 2 cups of water. Place it, uncovered, on the rack.
- Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure to high for 2 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure.
- Remove the rice and transfer it into a large bowl. Fluff with a fork.
- Serve the Hoppin' John over the rice. Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.
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