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Hoppin’ John with Kale

  • Prep Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Total Time: 13 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8


Note: The dry peas are soaked overnight in this recipe so leave yourself enough time.


  • ½ pound black eyed peas (or field peas)
  • 4 cups cold water
  • ½ pound thick cut smoked bacon, diced into half inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 11 ½ pounds ham hocks
  • ½ cup celery diced
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • ¼ cup green bell pepper diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups kale, removed from stems and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 23 tablespoons minced scallions


  1. The night before, soak black eyed peas in cold water overnight at room temperature.
  2. The following day, drain peas and discard water.
  3. In a medium pot over medium heat, place bacon and cook until crisp. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Reserve two tablespoons of bacon fat in pan and add oil. Increase heat to medium high and add ham hocks. Sear on all sides and remove, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add celery, onion and green pepper and cook for three minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
  5. Add ham hocks back in along with stock, soaked peas, bay leaf, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes covered or until peas are almost tender but still a little bit chewy.
  6. While peas are cooking, cook rice according to package directions and set aside. (1 cup rice to two cups water).
  7. Add chopped kale to pot with peas and cook for 10 minutes covered.
  8. Remove ham hocks and bay leaf and discard.
  9. Strain out solids and cook liquid down to one cup, about 10 more minutes. Turn off burner and add butter. Stir to dissolve. Add solids back in and stir to combine.
  10. To serve, place mixture over rice and top with cooked bacon and scallions.