Do you know what happens when you eat black-eyed beans (a main ingredient in Hoppi’ John soup) on New Year’s day?
As the story goes, black-eyed beans (black-eyed peas) are meant to bring you luck if you eat them on New Year’s day so I try to serve them at every New Year’s that I can. Every little bit helps right?
Sometimes I serve them in a black-eyed bean and sweet potato stew. Sometimes in bean cakes or in some salsa. But this year I have decided to dish them up in that famous southern American dish Hoppin John. With a little Sierra Leonean twist of course.
Hoppin John Soup
Some just call this dish Hoppin’ John, others may refer to it as Hoppin’ John soup or Hoppin’ John stew. Whatever name you call it, you’ll love its flavour and heartiness.
I really like the simplicity of this dish. Essentially, it is a black-eyed bean soup in which the beans are simmered with smoky bacon (or ham), onions, celery and pepper. And in my view this soup gets better the next day and the next day after that.
And please do not skip topping this dish with crispy fried bacon and spring onions. They really do elevate it to something special. Yeap, just what you need on New Year’s day or any day of the year.
Hoppin John Soup Ingredients
To make this special dish, you’ll need:
Red bell pepper
Smoked bacon (leave out if you want to make vegetarian Hoppin’ John)
Maggi stock or chicken stock
Easy Hoppin John Recipe
Don’t worry, Hoppin’ John is not difficult to make. To make this easy Hoppin John recipe, do the following:
Roughly chop onion, pepper, celery, garlic, chilli and ginger in a food processor.
Fry bacon in oil in a pot until the bacon is crispy. Set aside a quarter of the bacon.
Add the chopped vegetable mixture to the fried bacon and fry for another 10 minutes.
Add the beans, stock, bay leaves and thyme. Mix and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 60 to 90 minutes.
Add salt or black pepper to taste.
Serve over rice and top with the rest of the bacon and spring onions.
Slow Cooker Hoppin’ John Soup
Hoppin’ John soup is a popular recipe on this site, and I am quite often asked about slow cooker Hoppin’ John. The answer to ‘Can Hoppin’ John soup be made in the slow cooker?’ is ‘Yes, it can.’
To make slow cooker Hoppin’ John, follow the recipe for the first three steps. When it’s time to cook everything in a large cooking pot, instead place the ingredients in your slow cooker on high. The standard procedure to convert a regular recipe to a slow cooker recipe is to slow cook for four hours on high for every one hour of original cooking time.
For this recipe, I recommend that you slow cook on high for 4 to 5 hours. (Or, you can cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.) This will give you the perfect slow cooker Hoppin’ John.
Vegetarian Hoppin’ John Soup
Yes, you can make this recipe vegetarian too. To make vegetarian Hoppin’ John soup, fry the vegetables in olive oil or butter instead of bacon, and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
Hoppin John With Canned Black-eyed Peas
Another option is to make Hoppin’ John soup with canned black-eyed peas (black-eyed beans), although the recipe won’t turn out as well. When you simmer your ingredients (or make slow cooker Hoppin’ John), you allow the flavours to mature.
If you must use canned beans, simmer your ingredients for at least 10 mins (instead of 60 to 90) to help the flavour develop.
(PS – If you like this soup, I think you should also give my Instant Pot Potato Soup a try.)
So here is how to make Hoppin John soup. Please do try it and if you do make it, then please do tag #recipesfromapantry on Instagram or twitter so that I can pop over and have a look. It is really, really awesome for me when you make any one of my recipes. You can also share it on my Facebook page.
Thank you for reading my Hoppin John Stew recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue dreaming up recipes, traditional African recipes, African fusion recipes, Sierra Leone recipes, travel plans and much more for you.
This post has been updated from Dec 2013. The picture below is the original one.
- 2 onions peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 red bell pepper deseeded and cut into large chunks
- 3 sticks of celery cut into large chunks
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- Scotch bonnet chilli to taste optional, leave out if feeding children
- 12 slices of thick cut smoked bacon cut into thin strips
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 500 g (2 1/4 cups) black-eyed beans soaked for 2 hrs and rinsed
- 1 L (4 cups) of maggi stock or chicken stock
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Ground black pepper
- 4 spring onions scallions finely chopped
- Place onion, pepper, celery, garlic, chilli and ginger into a food processor and chop roughly.
- Heat oil in a large cooking pot and fry bacon till it is nice and crispy. Remove a quarter of the bacon and set aside for garnish.
- Add the chopped vegetable mixture to the bacon and fry the mix for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
- Then add in the beans, stock, bay leaves and thyme, mix well, bring to the boil.
- Then reduce heat and cover and simmer for between 60 -90 mins depending on how soft you want your beans. You may need to add in more stock if it dries out.
- Add in salt and black pepper to taste.
- Serve this over rice and top with the rest of the bacon and chopped spring onions.
Maggi is a stock cube we use in Sierra Leone. For this particular stock I used 1 Maggi cube for 1 litre of water.