Some southern states have different versions, using the local variety of peas; but Hoppin’ John always includes peas and rice.
Hoppin John Recipe
2 1/2 cups fresh or dried black-eyed peas
3/4-pound piece of bacon
1 large onion
1 1/2 cups rice
2 tablespoons butter-optional
1/8 teaspoon cayenne – optional
Soak the dried peas overnight. Drain and use like the fresh variety. Put the peas in a deep pan and with 4 inches of water. Add the onion, peeled, and the bacon cut into 1/4-inch slices. Boil 30 to 40 minutes or until the peas are tender.
Put the rice in a heavy pan with 3 cups of water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, stir just once with a fork. Lower the flame and simmer 18 to 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the kernels are separate.
Drain all but about 2 cupfuls of liquid off peas. Stir in the rice. Steam until almost dry. Add the butter, cayenne and salt to taste.
Some cooks omit the butter and cayenne, seasoning the peas at the table with pepper vinegar. I prefer to season with small bits of pickled banana peppers, cut fine to about half the size of the pea.