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The Truth... What is it?

Old Timey Hoppin' John

The key ingredient is red "cow peas". Other names are "red field peas" (red cow peas, red Geechee peas, or red Sapelo Island or Sea island field peas) and red iron clay peas. They are small, red, oval peas from annual crops that are considered a type of peasant food. Farmers in the eastern Carolina's and Georgia often planted them around...or within...other crops. The household picked as many of the peas as they wanted. Then the cows were "turned in" to the field to eat what all else was left. They can be bought for food as dried peas (must soak overnight before cooking) from Anson Mills or Carolina Plantation. Even better, Glory Foods has sold cans of "Seasoned Southern Style Field Peas". Here is the Wikipedia write-up. To grow the peas, you will find many varieties listed in seed company web sites, such as Baker or even Clemson Univeristy heirloom seeds site, HERE. Deer will eat them, by the way. You can substitute black peas, black-eyed peas or crowder peas. I have seen chef Donald Barickman's bulk recipe for Magnolia's Restaurant in Charleston, S. C. The following is a very easy recipe.

Key Ingredients: Use (1) a can of Glory Field Peas plus (2) any rice (3) plus pork trimmings of ham or bacon, or even pork neck bone.

other ingredients:

  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) Glory Foods Field Peas (cow peas).
  • 1/2 cup of cooked ham trimmings or bacon.
  • Salt to taste (careful! let people adjust at the table).
  • One cup raw rice to cook.
  • A slice of onion.
  • Two and a half cups chicken stock.
  • Black pepper to taste (careful! let people adjust at the table).

the process:

  • Combine the can contents of field peas with the cooked rice, pork trimmings, chopped onion, and chicken stock into a pot and heat on medium.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Taste after well heated; if seems good, serve.
  • Leftovers can be frozen for later or refrigerated and eaten the next day.

On-line recipes are numerous with search term, Hoppin' John.

Taste Test: On 18 Nov. 2015, Betty & I and Betty's sister, Trudy, heated up a recipe of the (1) Anson Mills sea island peas we'd cooked the day before, (2) a can of Glory brand "red peas and snaps", and (3) a can of Margaret Holmes "seasoned pepper 'n' peas" for a taste comparison. Betty & Trudy...farm girls, liked (1) because the pea taste dominated. I liked (3) for a combination of tastiness and spiciness. We are going to combine all three in pot.

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(posted 3/8/2015; update 18 November 2015)