Hoppin John with Braised Venison Shanks
Hoppin’ John is an amazing Southern American dish with an interesting history. I was raised believing that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day was the only way to solidify a year’s worth of good luck. As a kid, I was not allowed to end the day without at least a spoonful of black-eyed peas. My family is still very superstitious when it comes to this tradition, but no matter, I now love black-eyed peas as of the yearly spoonfuls.
Historically, Hoppin’ John is a culmination of the many worlds that contributed to giving the “Old South” its culinary identity. Born in the rice-rich lands of the Carolinas, this dish incorporates rice along with cowpeas, black-eyed peas, or other beans and is flavored with bacon or ham. Following the cookery methods brought to the American South by African slaves, the rice, beans, and broth are cooked together. This method is what made it Hoppin’ John. Most modern methods cook the two separately which I refused to recognize after tasting the result of the steps below.
I wanted to add a wild game component to this meal. I do not believe that I am the first to think of this as much of the historical American South survived on some sort of wild game meat. I braised the antelope shanks in the slow cooker overnight and used that braising liquid throughout the remainder of the recipe.
Preparation of the Hoppin’ John is following the traditional preparation as much as I could, except for the addition of the Harvesting Nature Water Fowl Blend. The resulting meal was remarkably balanced and wholesome. I was very happy to share it with my family who gave the meal two thumbs up as they solidified their good luck for the next year. There is nothing like cooking magical food that also pleases the diners. Good Luck and Enjoy!
Oh, there is still time to gain your own luck since you missed New Year’s Day. Cook this up!
Serving Size: 4-6
Time to make: 8-10 hours
Equipment: Large Pan, Slow Cooker, and Dutch Oven/Large Pot
Also works with: Any Wild Game Shanks
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