Get a leg up on the New Year with a big bowl of Hoppin' John!
Hoppin' John is a Southern black eyed pea dish usually served on New Year's Eve. It consists of seasoned peas and is often served over rice.
The peas represent prosperity in the New Year, and who couldn't use a little of that?
Most often, this New Year's dish serves as an entree, but if you're serving a large meal, it's an excellent side dish along with a piece of homemade cornbread!
What is Hoppin' John?
Hoppin' John is Southern New Year's "good luck" tradition (also known as South Carolina Peas and Rice."
It consists of field peas, (typically black eyed or purple hull peas), onion, bell pepper, bacon, served with rice.
Some folks add leftover turkey, chicken or sausage to their recipe.
The theory behind this annual, Southern "good luck" dish is this: eat a bowl of Hoppin' John at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve (with a side of greens, a slice of cornbread and celebratory glass of bubbly) or on New Year's Day.
The peas represent "pennies" or coins, the greens represent "dollars" and the cornbread represents "gold."
What you'll need
The ingredients are simple: black eyed peas (canned or frozen), cooked with some sort of pork fat (usually bacon), diced bell pepper, onion and a bed of rice.
You can dress up any Hoppin' John recipe to your liking, but this traditional "soul food" recipe is pretty limited, but very flavorful.
I find myself serving this on New Year's Day with a delicious slow cooker corned beef brisket and cabbage! Add everything in the slow cooker on New Year's Eve and it's ready for New Year's Day!
How to make it
Use frozen, dried or canned peas. This recipe uses frozen which are cooked in water and chicken broth.
Add sauteed onion, bell pepper, seasonings and a handful of bacon to the broth. Allow to simmer then serve with rice. Garnish with remaining bacon and green onions.
Saute chopped onion, bell pepper; set aside
Cook the bacon; chop/crumble and set aside
Cook the peas in water and chicken broth; add seasonings to peas
Add cooked onion and bell pepper to peas
Serve over prepared rice; Garnish with remaining bacon and green onions
What kind of peas should I use?
Most often, traditional Hoppin' John recipes use "good luck" black eyed which are available year-round -dried, canned or frozen.
You can also use purple hull peas for easy Hoppin' John, but the challenge is, they are not available year-round and aren't available in cans.
I recommend you stock up on purple hulls in the summer when they're fresh and freeze them so you can eat them year round, and particularly on New Year's with a slice of cornbread!
Canned or frozen peas?
You can use canned, frozen or dried for Hoppin' John. Canned is quickest; frozen and dried offer the best flavor and texture.
If you use canned, be sure to drain and rinse first.
A slower, more flavorful method for this Southern good luck dish is to cook fresh or dried peas on the stove top or slow cooker, then follow the instructions above.
Make ahead, storage and freezing
Make Hoppin' John ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. (Store prepared rice separately.)
Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to serve, reheat on the stovetop (you may need to add a little water) and serve over prepared rice.
Stovetop and slow-cooker methods take takes more time, but I think the flavor is totally worth it! Season your Hoppin' John to be as mild or spicy as you like!
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- 12 ounces frozen black eyed or purple hull peas
- 6 thick slices of hickory smoked bacon, chopped (reserve bacon grease)
- reserved bacon grease
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup chopped sweet yellow onion
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste ( I put ½ teaspoon in peas and ½ teaspoon in onion/bell pepper mixture); after that, I add more to taste
- 2 cups prepared rice white or brown
- Rinse frozen black eyed peas in a colander; allow to drain; set aside (See Recipe Notes if using canned or fresh peas)12 ounces frozen black eyed or purple hull peas
- Chop onion and bell pepper; set aside½ cup chopped sweet yellow onion, ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- Cook bacon; drain on paper towel; chop; set aside (reserve bacon grease)6 thick slices of hickory smoked bacon, chopped
Cook the Black Eyed Peas
- In a large stock pot, add 3 cups of water, chicken broth, 2 tablespoons of bacon grease, ground pepper, onion powder, ½ teaspoon of salt and peas12 ounces frozen black eyed or purple hull peas, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt to taste, reserved bacon grease
- Cook on medium high heat until peas are tender (about 45 minutes)
- While peas are cooking, add one tablespoon of bacon grease to a skillet; add onion and bell pepper; cook on medium for 6-8 minutes (until onions are lightly browned and bell pepper is semi-tender)reserved bacon grease, ½ cup chopped sweet yellow onion, ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- Add sauteed onion and bell pepper to peas while they are cooking; add about ½ of the chopped bacon to the peas
- Prepare rice while peas are cooking; set aside2 cups prepared rice
- Once peas are tender, season to taste with salt and pepper
- Plate rice in a small bowl and pour peas over rice; garnish with remaining bacon and green onion
If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a rating and comment! I love to hear from you!