Hoppin’ John with Creamy Polenta

Back when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit I decided to stock up on essentials like cans of beans and soup that have a long shelf life. Even though I didn’t know exactly what it was, I wound up with a few cans of Hoppin’ John’s black-eyed pea stew in my cart. It looked really delicious! I never got around to making this until recently. While I did rely on ready-made stew from the can, I found it necessary to add quite a bit of extras to jazz it up and help the stew reach its full potential.

Hoppin’ John is made with black-eyed peas, chopped onions, peppers, tomatoes, and a meat of your choice. Popular meat choices are bacon, ham hock, sausage, or smoked turkey parts. You can of course make it vegetarian using veggies like okra, peppers, and eggplant.

Peas and rice known as Hoppin’ John originated in the southern United States. Some believe that eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day will bring good luck in upcoming year. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. Serving leafy green vegetables along with this dish is supposed to further add to the wealth. Corn bread can also be served to represent wealth, being the color of gold.

This dish was surprisingly very delicious and is also a quick dish to make. I decided to also make polenta and serve the stew over that. I used Bob’s Red Mill since it is very high quality, locally produced, and readily available where I live (you might have it where you live too). This dish pairs REALLY well with polenta. You can also serve this dish over rice, or just eat it as it is. It’s really good!



Hoppin John

  • 2 14.5 oz. can hoppin’ john (black eyed peas and peppers)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup leeks, small dice
  • 1/2 cup celery, small dice
  • 1 tbsp. chicken base
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 cups cooked ham, large dice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Creamy Polenta

  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. chicken base
  • 1/4 tsp. black ground pepper
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup shredded jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped


Hoppin’ John

Heat a large heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat.

Add butter, and when the butter is melted, add leeks and celery to the pan. Cook until vegetables are soft for about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken base and black pepper to the vegetables.

Cook for 30 seconds, then add ham chunks and stir very well. Turn down the heat to medium and cook for a couple of minutes. Add two cans of hoppin’ john mix to the pot and take 1/2 cup of water to rinse out the inside of the hoppin’ john cans.

Add the rinsed water to the pot and stir. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat stirring a few times. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley.

Taste for seasoning.

Creamy Polenta

Place half and half, water, chicken base, and black pepper in a medium sized deep pot. Whisk well to mix in the chicken base. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Slowly add 1 cup of polenta and reduce heat.

Cook slowly for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. On low heat, add butter and cheese and stir everything together until the cheese and butter is melted.


Turn off the heat and taste for seasoning. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Serving Hoppin’ John

To serve hoppin’ john, take a nice serving bowl and place a generous amount of cooked polenta in the middle. Use a back of a large spoon to make a divot in the middle of the polenta. Then, take a soup ladle and place some hoppin’ john in the divot of the polenta and spoon some hoppin’ john sauce around the polenta. Garnish with some chopped fresh parsley and enjoy!

Serves 6


Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram. If you would to be notified of upcoming posts, please consider subscribing to my blog!

One response to “Hoppin’ John with Creamy Polenta”

  1. Nice recipe, I added kidney beans and another type of beans (I can’t remember at the moment) and had it as a meal on its own. I used lamb instead and it tasted delish!

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