Hoppin' New Year

Johnny Autry
by Francine Maroukian - Dec 2011/Jan 2012

Black-eyed peas, rice, and pork come together 
for a big helping of Southern tradition

Hoppin’ John

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
¾ lb. Tasso ham, diced
1 onion, halved
3 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves

In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine ingredients with 6 
cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to
2 ½ hours. Drain the black-eyed peas and ham, saving cooking liquid separately. Remove and discard the onion pieces, 
garlic, and bay leaves.

½ lb. bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
½ tsp. fresh thyme
1 cup Cajun Grain rice (or a good-quality long grain rice)
6 green onions, sliced
½ bunch parsley, chopped
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Wipe out the pot and return to stove over moderately high heat. Add bacon and render until golden (8 to 10 minutes), then add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeño. Using a wooden spoon, stir occasion-ally, cooking until onions look translucent (8 to 12 minutes). Add the thyme and 2 ½ cups water, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, stir in the rice, cover, and simmer until the 
rice is tender, about 17 
to 22 minutes.

Stir in the green onions, parsley, and black-eyed peas and ham, season with salt and pepper, and adjust the consistency with the reserved cooking liquid. The hoppin’ John should be lushly moist but not soupy.

Meet the chef: Stephen Stryjewski

Current restaurants: 
Cochon, Cochon Lafayette, Cochon Butcher (New Orleans)
On the menu: Braised pork cheeks with fresh field peas and spoon bread; charred onion hush puppies with pickled vinegar mayo; smoked beef brisket with horseradish potato salad
Food philosophy: High-quality products simply prepared
Outside the kitchen: “I enjoy gardening, and many early mornings and late nights are spent roaming about my yard, where I have persimmons, pomegranates, figs, a Meyer lemon tree, blueberry bushes, blackberry bushes, a satsuma tree, muscadine and Taylor grapes, and beds where I grow peppers, peanuts, tomatoes, eggplant, squash, okra, peas, beans, herbs, and lots of flowers.”