Hoppin' John: Authentic American Cuisine!

Posted by Timothy Langdon on

Cast iron pot of Hopping John in fireplace


A little history: Hopping John is a simple (but delicious!) meal of rice, meat, and beans. It has its origins in African culture, and its name is thought to be a mispronunciation of the Haitian-Creole word for "pigeon peas," one of its original ingredients. It's not too hard to see how pois pigeon (PWAH pi-ZHAN) could have been misheard as "hopping john."

The dish is now considered a southern classic, and there are several superstitions connecting the number of peas in a serving to how much luck the eater will have in future.

Hopping John can be made with a variety of meats and beans. Below is Camp Flintlock's official recipe. Note: This dish can easily be made on a stovetop, but is especially delicious when cooked over a fire in a cast iron pot!

1 cup long grain rice
1 lb lean sausage
15 oz can (ie pre-cooked) beans or peas (don't use baked beans)
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Optional: Substitute your favorite steak seasoning, etc. for the salt and pepper

Bowl of pigeon peas
Black-eyed peas, black beans, etc can be used in Hopping John,
but we've opted for traditional pigeon peas.

Cook sausage in a large, deep frying pan or pot until well-done, but not burnt (cast  iron is best; you'll be using this pan/pot for all parts of the recipe). Remove from heat. With a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pot, place in a bowl lined with paper towels and set aside. Drain excess grease from the pot, but leave the little bits of sausage in the pan.

Sausage, well-done, being spooned from cast iron pot
Well-done, but not burnt

Place 2 cups water in the pot and bring to a boil. Wash rice and add to boiling water. Stir in salt & pepper (or seasoning of your choice). Reduce to low heat and cover. Simmer 18-20 minutes until rice is done. If you are cooking over a fire, you may need to stir the rice about 10 minutes in to ensure that it does not stick. Remove from heat when done.

Cooked rice with bits of sausage
The bits of sausage help to flavor the rice.

Drain the can of beans, then add beans and sausage to the rice. Stir and let sit 5 minutes.

Adding sausage & peas to pot of rice
Add ingredients, stir, and cover

Makes 5-6 cups of Hopping John.