When I was in college at the University of Missouri-Columbia, there was an amazing restaurant nearby named Glenn’s Cafe, which served the best Cajun and Creole food with a dash of Southwestern thrown in. Every dish tasted rich and smoky and seemed to be packed with seafood. Seafood creole, gator stew, jambalaya, blackened redfish, smoked turkey salad, crabcakes and bourbon mashed sweet potatoes were a few of the dishes on the rotating menu. I ate there with friends as often as my college checking account would let me.
I got married and moved away in 2000. And the cafe closed in 2002. However, while I was working on this post, I googled Glenn’s Cafe and learned they re-opened in 2006.
Why am I rhapsodizing about long ago meals? Because this version of Easy Hoppin John Soup that I made reminded me a lot of a dish I might have been served at Glenn’s. I may not have had hoppin john at Glenn’s but I know black eyed peas showed up as an occasional side dish.
You want to try this recipe. For the amount of work involved, a little boiling, a little chopping and then waiting for it to finish cooking in a slow cooker, the flavor payoff is huge.
This is a great soup for the month of January when everyone is trying to be good after December’s excess of eating and spending. Hoppin John soup is incredibly thrifty, especially if you’re using leftover Christmas ham.
Unfortunately, even though the recipe, with ham hock, filled my six-quarter slow cooker, this soup only lasted two days.
I’d liked to blame Mr. 47 who kept serving himself bowls of the soup while saying how good it was and casting a suspicious eye at me as though I’d put a hex over the soup to keep him eating it. However, I ate several spoonfuls myself while it was cooking. I ate one spoonful to check the spice level and it was so good I had another, then ate another and perhaps five or 12 more spoonfuls before replacing the lid.
- You don’t have to use a slow cooker for this soup. You can throw everything in a soup pot if you’d rather. If you do, I would shorten the cooking time to an hour instead of two. I think dishes cook at a higher heat on the stove top.
- I had planned to serve this soup over rice to stretch it and forgot. Go with rice or not, it’s up to you.
- The soup has a bit of heat from the jalapeno peppers, white pepper and smoked paprika but it’s not overwhelmingly spicy. You can also put a bottle of hot sauce on the table for each person to heat it up to their own liking.
- Serves six to eight.
- 1.5 cups dried black eyed peas or 4.5 cups cooked
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 1 Tbsp oil or butter
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 1 large onion, yellow or white, diced
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 jalapenos, each sliced in half vertically with stems chopped off
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper (can use black)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 14.5-ounce cans of chicken broth
- 1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- For serving:
- white rice, chopped kale, chopped green onion, a few dashes of white vinegar
- Put the dried black eyed peas in a medium sauce pan. Fill pan with cold water about two inches over the top of the peas. Bring to boiling for 10 minutes then let cool and drain liquid.
- Put ham hock in slow-cooker. Pour peas over ham hock. Set aside.
- Warm oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute celery, red pepper, and oniont until translucent. Add jalapeno and minced garlic and cook for a minute more. Add paprika, white or black pepper and cumin. Stir for 30 seconds or so more.
- Remove veggies from heat and add them to the black eyed peas and ham hock in the slow-cooker. Note you can make this in a soup pot as well, if you prefer. Cook two hours on low in the slow-cooker or simmer for about an hour in a soup pot.
- Pour in chicken broth and diced tomatoes. Cover and heat two to three hours on low. To serve put torn pieces of kale, a handful, in each bowl and top with hoppin john soup and rice, if you're using rice. Garnish with chopped green onion and/or a splash of white vinegar, if you like.
Let me know if you try the soup. Would you consider sharing this soup recipe on Pinterest? Hover over the image below to pin. Thanks 🙂