I love Hoppin’ John and I love collard greens. A few years ago, I started just putting my greens and rice right into the pot with the black eyed peas and ham hock. I also started doing it the easy way-using canned, seasoned black eyed peas. A bowl of this with a thick slice of butter-slathered cornbread and I am in heaven. —Vicki Amsinger
small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
(15 ounce) cans of seasoned black eyed peas with liquid (I like Glory Brand)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and add the onion and celery. Cook a few minutes until just tender and fragrant. Add in the black eyed peas, water and ham hock. Stir well and cook for about 15 minutes on medium low
Add the collard greens and bring to a boil, while stirring the greens deep into the pot (they wilt down a lot!). Reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Simmer on low for about 2 hours and remove the ham hock to a plate.
Let cool until you can handle it and then separate the meat from the hock and add the meat back to the pot, discarding the rest of the hock. Add the rice. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Cook, uncovered for 10 more minutes and spoon into great big bowls.
*Note on collard greens: if you’ve never used fresh collard greens before, they are really easy to prep. Just take each leaf and bend it in half with the darker sides facing each other. That will make the tough rib stand up. Then, holding the leaves in one hand, pull the rib away and discard it. Then, all you have to do is tear or chop the greens and wash and dry them thoroughly. For an even easier route, most grocery stores sell bags of frozen collards and you can just a bag or two of them. You could also use spinach or swiss chard.