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Skillet Suppers: Hoppin’ John and Limpin’ Susan

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During a busy week sometimes a “Skillet Supper” is the way to go. Toss some ingredients in the skillet, pop it in the oven, and dinner cooks itself. This is one of those busy weeks for me, so I’m sharing a recipe for a Hoppin’ John and Limpin’ Susan mash-up from Lighten Up, Y’all and linking to my recipe for Pork Chops with Cabbage and Sweet Potato on Southern Kitchen. (More about that in a bit….)

Hoppin’ John is an old-fashioned country dish traditionally served on New Year’s Day. It’s made with peas, rice, and most often flavored with a hunk of pork such as salt pork, fatback, or hog jowl. So who is Limpin’ Susan? Legend has it that Limpin’ Susan was the wife of Hoppin’ John. There seems to be little known about the origin of the name for Limpin’ Susan, but the one constant is that it typically consists of rice, bacon, and okra. Both are one-pot, inexpensive meals. In this recipe, I have reunited the happy couple. It seems to me if one is hopping and the other is limping, they probably need each other to lean on!

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Cooking with Virginia

More about that skillet supper on Southern Kitchen! So, I’m very excited about our partnership. ICYMI Southern Kitchen is the new home for Cooking with Virginia. I’ll have at least one column with a recipe each month. And, I will also contribute another half dozen or so posts that drill down a bit deeper on technique, like this one on braising. This month, I’ve developed a simple weeknight skillet supper of Pork Chops with Cabbage and Sweet Potatoes. You can also check out my very first interview regarding my new book Secrets of the Southern Table due out May 1 and take an exclusive sneak peek at the recipe for West African Chicken Stew with Collard Greens and Peanuts.

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Revving Up for Book Tour

If you are in the Atlanta area, please sign up for the launch party at The Atlanta History Center and if you’re outside of Atlanta, please keep an eye on my events page to see if and when I’ll be in your neighborhood. We’ll be adding tons of events very soon! Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the recipes.

Bon Appétit, Y’all!

Virginia Willis

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Hoppin' John and Limpin' Susan

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 strip center-cut bacon cut into lardons
  • 1 sweet onion chopped
  • 2 cups freshly shelled black-eyed peas about 1½ pounds unshelled or frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or reduced-fat low-sodium chicken broth, or water
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 dried chile such as chipotle or ancho, halved and seeded, left whole, or torn into bits for more heat
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup long grain white rice or jasmine brown rice
  • 8 ounces okra stemmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 green onions trimmed and chopped
  • 1 small fresh red chile such as bird’s eye or Thai, chopped, for garnish (optional)
  • Hot sauce for serving


  • Place a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate and pour off all but a teaspoon or so of the bacon grease. Return the bacon to the pan. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add peas, stock, the 2 cups water, and the dried chile. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, decrease the heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, until the peas are just tender (almost al dente) and about 2 cups of liquid remain, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Add the rice and okra to the pot, and stir to combine. Cover, and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. (If using brown rice, add the rice, but do not add the okra at this point. Let the brown rice simmer for 10 minutes, remove the lid and quickly add the okra. Cover and continue to cook until the rice and okra are tender, an additional 25 minutes.) Do not remove the lid during this part of cooking.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and allow the rice to steam, still covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove the cover and remove the dried chile. Fluff with a fork; taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Scatter the parsley over the top and serve immediately with the green onions, fresh red chile, and hot sauce.

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photo credits: Angie Mosier- Hoppin John and Limpin Susan; Virginia Willis – pork chops; Biscuits – Craftsy

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Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained chef Virginia Willis has foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and executed the food styling for a Super Bowl commercial seen by over 160 million people. She is a James Beard award-winning cookbook author and chef for Food Network Kitchen. Virginia lost 65 pounds and has kept if off for over 3 years. Her health journey has been documented in Eating Well, as a cover story for Woman’s World, Allrecipes, and AARP. Virginia has embraced her new outlook on life and has become a cheerleader for those wanting to make their own life changes, “If a French-trained Southern chef can do it, you can, too!” Her cookbooks include Fresh Start: Cooking with Virginia My Real Life Daily Guide to Healthy Eating and Weight Loss; Secrets of the Southern Table, Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Alex vs America, The Rachel Ray Show, Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Virginia has also been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52. She has contributed to Eating Well, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. Fans love her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Learn more about Virginia and Good and Good for You Living, a real life health and wellness approach for mind, body, and spirit that includes food, fun, and fitness at

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Toice Stephens

    Happened to have frozen black-eyed peas as well as okra left in the back of the freezer from this summer, and made this dish with andouille sausage. OMG!!! This is SOOOOO going into regular rotation!!! Simple, delicious, and converts folks who think black-eyed peas lack “flavor” or okra is “slimy”. Love it!!! Thanks so much for posting this recipe, as well as the history behind the dish

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