Hoppin’ John Risotto

plate with Hoppin' John Risotto

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5 from 6 reviews

Arborio rice from RiceSelect provides the foundation for a creative risotto version of the Southern classic dish, Hoppin’ John. Onions, collard greens, bacon, black eyed peas and cheese combine for layers of delicious flavor.



For the skillet:

  • 4 strips of bacon – I used low sodium
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch collard greens – stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 14 1/2 oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions

To cook the rice:

  • 1 cup RiceSelect Arborio Rice
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 10 cups water
  • pinch of salt


  1. Cook the bacon: Coat a large skillet with oil spray and heat on medium. Add the 4 strips of bacon when the skillet is hot. Cook until cooked to a crispy brown, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. When the bacon is cooked to your liking, remove to a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb the excess grease. Pour the extra grease from the skillet into an empty can, leaving a bit of the bacon bits and grease in the pan for flavor. When the bacon has cooled, break it up into bite sized bits and reserve to finish the dish.
  2. Sauté onion and pepper: Add the olive oil to the skillet used for the bacon, heat on medium low. Add the onion, cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper, cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the collard greens: Stir the collard greens into the skillet in 2 or 3 batches. These bulky greens take up a lot of space until they start to cook down. After you have added all the greens, stir in 1/2 cup of chicken broth, salt, paprika and dried thyme. Cover, and simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes. Stir in the black-eyed peas, cover the skillet, and cook for another 10 minutes. Keep warm until the rice is ready to add to the skillet.
  4. Cook the rice: After adding the greens to the skillet, add the 2 cups chicken broth and the water to a large pot. Bring to a boil, the add the RiceSelect Arborio Rice to the water. Cook the rice for 15 to 18 minutes until just tender. When the rice is done, drain it in a colander that doesn’t have very big holes.
  5. Mix up the risotto: After the arborio rice has cooked and been drained, stir the rice into the skillet with the collard green mixture along with the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth and the bacon bits. Cook for about 3 minutes to let the flavors meld, then stir in the cheese, scallions and honey if using. Give the cheese 1 or 2 minutes to let it melt, then you are ready to plate and enjoy your Hoppin’ John Risotto with RiceSelect!


  • In this recipe, the RiceSelect Arborio Rice is cooked in boiling water and broth, more like the way you cook pasta as opposed to traditional risotto making. This technique shows the versatility of this great arborio rice and lets you focus on building up layers of flavor in the skillet.
  • I didn’t use the honey or syrup for this recipe, but have added it with previous versions of Hoppin’ John that I have made. Consider adding it if you like a little touch of sweetness.
  • You can get creative and add to the rice cooking water things like a bay leaf, tablespoon of a minced fresh herb, or some lemon zest.
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