I was making hoppin' john and realized I added too much chicken stock relative to the rest of my ingredients -- 8 cups instead of 6. When I reached the point where I would otherwise take the pot off the burner and let it sit for 5 minutes, then fluff the rice and serve ... well at that point I had a soup.

I tried doing what I would do if I ended up with too much liquid when making rice: I spooned off the excess liquid and let it simmer uncovered on low for 5 minutes; then let it sit, fluffed it, etc. The end result still ended up a lot wetter than I'd like; the rice was more like a gloopy risotto than anything close to dry, distinct grains. The taste didn't seem to be affected.

Is there a better way of dealing with an "oh shucks, everything's cooked but I have excess liquid" situation when cooking a dish like this? I found that spooning the excess liquid off was quite difficult, I kept scooping up little bits of stuff that I'd otherwise rather stayed in the dish like beans or rice grains or bits of onion.

(For those unfamiliar, hoppin' john is basically stewed black-eyed peas and rice. Fry up some salt pork, onions, and garlic; add peas, ham, red and black pepper, cook for an hour; add rice, simmer 20 minutes until tender; rest 5 minutes, fluff with fork. Variations/family derivatives abound.)

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    I normally just put the lid on top, open a tiny gap, pour through the tiny gap
    – minseong
    Commented Aug 8, 2021 at 17:59

2 Answers 2


This kind of meal is something which my grandmother would typically prepare in the oven. If you make it there, in a wide and flat casserole dish (the depth should be 2-3 cm) at not too high a temperature, you can easily leave it inside until the water has evaporated completely, without fear of burning. It will take a long time to happen, but that is acceptable and even desirable in an oven stew.

If you insist on doing it on stovetop, using a sieve would be much easier than spooning. If you don't have a large sieve that can do it in a few batches, you can also try a colander, catching the liquid with all the rice falling through the holes, and then pouring the liquid through a smaller sieve to retrieve the rice. Also make sure to catch at least some liquid, so your dish won't burn when you return it to the stovetop. Let it cook a little bit. It probably won't taste exactly like the original, since the waterlogged rice kernels will stay wetter than usual after a short heating, but it will be a solid dish and not a soup.


Add rice.

Or anything else that is dried and starchy and will drink up the juice. If you add more rice you will overcook the rice that you already have - that might not be so bad. Or you could add instant rice if you have it, or instant oats. Or couscous. Instant mashed potatoes are usually my go-to for drinking up the extra liquid because I keep it on the shelf, it drinks it up immediately, and it goes with everything.

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