Recipe: Hoppin' John, a real Winter warmer starring black-eyed peas...

Black Eyed Peas Getty Images 72134378 Compared to its fellow legumes, black-eyed peas (sometimes called black-eyed beans) are somewhat unsung in the UK, and no that's not a reference to the pop group! It's a real shame as black-eyed peas are high in nutrition, especially Calcium and Vitamin A, add a healthy dose of nitrogen to the soil they're grown in and, most importantly, are utterly delicious, with a nutty taste and bite that works well in a variety of dishes…

Now widely available in the UK supermarkets, canned or dried, black-eyed peas are praised around the globe. Their versatility sees them used in a huge range of dishes, including in a toothsome Vietnamese dessert alongside sticky rice and coconut milk, as the base in a range of tasty Indian daals, and even mashed and deep-fried as the Brazilian equivalent of falafel.

But today we're going to turn our attention to the American south, for a Simple Things-style take on a classic, oh-so tasty dish that's perfect for a Winter's evening: Hoppin' John.

This easy to prepare, hearty and warming meal sees black-eyed peas teamed with one of our favourite Winter vegetables, curly kale, which substitutes for the original version's collard greens, as they're a little scarce on this side of the Atlantic! Hoppin' John is traditionally served on New Year's Day, for good luck, but it's so tasty that it'll become a year-round favourite – it also batch freezes very well indeed...

Hoppin' John, Simple Things style


  • 200g smoked pancetta, cubed
  • 500g passata
  • 1 large handful kale, chopped
  • 1 can of black-eyed peas, drained
  • 1 large pepper, diced to 1cm
  • 1 large onion, diced to 1cm
  • 1 handful coriander, finely-chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely-chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 chili, finely-chopped
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube
  • 1/2 glass red wine
  • Olive oil
  1. Fry the cubed pancetta in a olive oil until it starts to brown.
  2. Add the chopped pepper, red onion and chili until they soften.
  3. Add the garlic and bay leaves, then the red wine and the veg stock cube (dissolved in a little hot water).
  4. Add the passata, black-eyed peas and half of the coriander.
  5. Bring to a simmer, add the kale, cover and simmer for an hour.
  6. Remove the bay leaves, turn off the heat and add the rest of the coriander.
  7. Serve over long grain rice, topped with grated cheese and sour cream, if you wish.

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