Hoppin' John is a Southern black-eyed pea dish usually served on New Year's Eve. It consists of black-eyed or purple hull peas, seasoned with celery, onion, bell pepper 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?
It's a Southern New Year's "good luck" tradition (also known as South Carolina Peas and Rice.)
It consists of "field peas," typically black-eyed peas or purple hull peas), onion, celery, bell pepper, and seasonings. It is usually cooked with bacon or a ham hock and served with rice and collard greens.
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."
Watch how easy it is to make
Watch how easy and simple it is to make Hoppin' John! Simple ingredients and one pot!
What you'll need
The ingredients are pretty simple: use canned black-eyed peas, fresh, dried or frozen, cook with some sort of pork fat (usually bacon), and combine with The Holy Trinity (sauteed onion, celery, green bell pepper.) Serve over prepared rice.
The traditional way to season black-eyed peas (and other types) is to use some sort of fat - either bacon, smoked ham hock, smoked turkey leg, or Kielbasa sausage.
You can dress up this recipe to your liking, but this traditional "soul food" recipe is pretty simple, 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!
This recipe uses a 20-ounce package of frozen peas, which yields about 4 cups of Hoppin' John.
(20 ounces of frozen peas is 2 cups, so, if you make this with a pound of dried peas, you'll need to increase the amount of onion, celery, bell pepper, broth and seasonings a bit.)
One cup of dried peas yields about 3 cups of cooked peas.
How to make it
Use frozen, dried or canned peas. This recipe uses frozen which are cooked in water and chicken broth.
Frozen black-eyed peas are slightly blanched when processed, so it takes about 30-45 minutes until they're tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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, fresh, 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.
This recipe uses frozen black-eyed peas. Some brands of frozen peas are slightly blanched before they're packaged, so this shortens the cooking time.
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.
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.
What to serve with Hoppin' John
No matter how you're serving good luck black-eyed peas, you're gonna need a side of homemade cornbread!
Hoppin' John is often made with sliced beef sausage or Kielbasa. Simply add the sliced sausage link to the stockpot and cook until brown.
If you don't have bacon to season the black-eyed peas, use a smoked ham hock or ham.
If you want a spicier version, add a little cayenne pepper or add a dash of Louisiana Hot Sauce.
Another version is to give Hoppin' John a little Mexican flair with the addition of a can of Rotel™ tomatoes (diced tomatoes and green chiles)!
Season your Hoppin' John to be as mild or spicy as you like! Be sure to have some of this good luck New Year's Eve or New Year's Day!
- How to Season and Cook Purple Hull Peas
- Southern Skillet Cornbread
- Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
- How to Cook Collard Greens
If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a rating and comment! I love to hear from you!
- 12 ounces frozen or canned black-eyed or purple hull peas
- 6 thick slices of bacon, chopped (reserve bacon grease); see recipe notes
- reserved bacon grease
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup chopped sweet yellow onion
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- salt 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 or canned black-eyed or purple hull peas
- Chop onion, celery and bell pepper; set aside½ cup chopped sweet yellow onion, ½ cup chopped green bell pepper, ¼ cup chopped celery
- Cook bacon; drain on paper towel; chop; set aside; reserve the bacon grease6 thick slices of bacon, chopped
Cook the Hoppin' John
- In a large stockpot, add chopped bacon; cook till crispy; remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towel; reserve the bacon grease in the stockpotreserved bacon grease
- Add chopped onion, celery and green bell peppers to the stockpot with the reserved bacon grease; saute 5 minutes½ cup chopped sweet yellow onion, ¼ cup chopped celery, ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- Add black-eyed peas, chicken broth and seasonings to stockpot12 ounces frozen or canned black-eyed or purple hull peas, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon onion powder
- Cook on medium heat until peas are tender (about 45 minutes); place a lid slightly off center on the stockpot to prevent the broth from dissipating
- Prepare rice while peas are cooking; set aside2 cups prepared rice
- Once peas are tender, season to taste with salt and peppersalt to taste
- Plate rice in a small bowl and pour peas over rice; garnish with remaining bacon and green onion