Food & Entertaining - Garden to Table

Spice up summer meals with these updated classics

Red rice with okra and black-eyed peas
This dish is traditionally known in the South as Hoppin’ John. You may omit the bacon if you wish, but it helps give this recipe a nice smoky flavour. Small cubes of cooked ham may also be used.

Makes 4 to 6 servings


  • 6 strips lean bacon
  • 2 cups (500 mL) sliced okra
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups (500 mL) chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) cooked black-eyed peas (if using canned, drain, rinse under cold running water and drain again)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) long-grain white rice, cooked
  • 1⁄2 tsp. (2 mL) cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towel; when cool enough to handle, crumble into pieces. Set aside.

2. Drain most of the bacon fat from skillet, reserving about 2 tbsp. (30 mL), or use the same amount of olive or vegetable oil. Add okra, celery and onion; sauté over medium-high heat for about 6 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are just tender.

3. Add tomatoes (and any juice), black-eyed peas, rice, bacon, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Stir together well and let cook gently for 2 to 3 minutes, at which point most of the liquid should be absorbed. Taste for seasoning; add salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot.

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