2000s Recipes + Menus

Kemp’s Hoppin’ John Collard Stew

Serves4 to 6
  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:3 1/2 hr
January 2009
This take on hoppin’ John—a traditional favorite from the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia—is my idea of easy. Sure, the pot spends a few hours on the stove over a low flame, but for most of that time I’m not standing over it; I’m in another room doing something else. You start with a little onion cooked in some oil—most of the dishes I cook at home do—then add a ham hock and some water and begin simmering. An hour later, I wander back into the kitchen to add black-eyed peas—no need to soak them—and an hour after that, I add the collards. By the end, seven humble ingredients will have come together with barely any fuss to make a meal of winter gold.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1 (3/4- to 1-lb) smoked ham hock
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/2 lb dried black-eyed peas (1 1/4 cups), picked over and rinsed (don’t soak)
  • 1 lb collard greens, center ribs discarded and leaves chopped
  • Accompaniments:

    cooked rice; hot sauce
  • Cook onion in oil with 1/2 tsp salt in a deep heavy medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add ham hock and water and simmer, partially covered, 1 hour.
  • Add black-eyed peas and simmer, partially covered, 1 hour.
  • Stir in collards (add water if necessary for a soupy consistency) and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until greens are very tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Remove ham hock and chop meat, discarding skin, fat, and bone. Stir into stew and thin with water, if necessary, then season with salt.
Cooks' Note: Stew can be made 3 days ahead and chilled (covered once cool). Reheat over medium-low heat, thinning with water. Taste and season again.
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