While many people know Kwame Onwuachi from his connection to Top Chef, the celebrated chef and advocate has joined the Guinness Flavor Series to showcase how food offers a meaningful connection beyond the plate. With his recipe for Hops n’ John, the Guinness ingredient is more than just a flavor enhancer.
Both well-known chefs and home cooks appreciate that food can satisfy a hunger beyond that growling of the stomach. Whether it is that longing for grandma’s classic Sunday dinner or a flavor that brings back memories of a special trip, the reality is that food connects people in ways that words sometimes cannot.
In the Guinness Flavor Series, various chefs are joining the iconic beer brand to celebrate how flavors are inspired. Whether it is a special memory, a moment in time or that connection to heritage and culture, all those moments season a particular dish.
Why did Kwame Onwuachi join the Guinness Flavor Series?
As the first chef to share a recipe for the Guinness Flavor Series, Kwame Onwuachi highlights an aspect of Guinness that might not instantly come to mind. The stout is a popular beer in Africa.
Onwauchi exclusively shared with FoodSided, the following. “Guinness was a huge part of the culture when I lived in Nigeria, and it was one of the first beers that I ever tasted. It has a complex flavor profile that lends itself to cooking as it adds depth to many recipes.”
For his recipe, Onwauchi looked to a classic, comfort food dish and offered a unique spin on the favorite. Onwauchi said, “Hops n’ John is my twist on the classic Hoppin’ John dish that I enjoyed growing up, with the addition of Guinness Extra Stout to give some subtle bittersweet notes to the black-eyed peas.”
Here’s how to make Hops and John by Chef Kwame Onwuachi.
- 1/3 pound bacon, or 1 ham hock plus 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 bottle Guinness Extra Stout
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas, about 1 1/4 cups
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 heaping teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- Cook the celery, onion, green pepper base: If you are using bacon, cut it into small pieces and cook it slowly in a medium pot over medium-low heat. If you are using a ham hock, heat the oil in the pot.
- Once the bacon is crispy (or the oil is hot if you are using a ham hock and not bacon), increase the heat to medium high and add the celery, onion, and green pepper and sauté until they begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Cook the black-eyed peas and seasonings: Add the black-eyed peas, bay leaf, thyme and Cajun seasoning and cover with 4 cups of chicken stock and the Guinness Extra Stout.If you are using the ham hock, add it to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for an hour to an hour and a half, (less time or more depending on the freshness of the black-eyed peas) until the peas are tender (not mushy).
- Cook the rice: While the black-eyed peas are cooking, cook the rice separately according to package instructions.
- Strain cooking water from peas, adjust seasoning: When the black-eyed peas are tender, strain out the remaining cooking water. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the black-eyed peas for salt and add more if needed. If using a ham hock, remove it from the pot, pull off the meat, and return the meat to the pot.
- Serve the dish either by placing a ladle-full of black-eyed peas over steamed rice, or by mixing the two together in a large bowl. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve with collard greens, kale, beet or turnip
As this recipe shows, food and connections are all around. It might not be the obvious choice, but they are always on the plate.
How have you incorporated certain memorable ingredients into a recipe?