fbpx
Skip to content

Hoppin’ John: A New Year’s Tradition

Every year, our family welcomes in the New Year with a big steaming bowl of Hoppin’ John (southern-style black-eyed peas). This has been a tradition in our family ever since I was a little girl, when we’d have our New Year’s party over at my grandparents’ house. So New Year’s Day and Hoppin’ John go hand-in-hand in my book.
Hoppin’ John is just the Southern (aka the proper) name for this black-eyed pea dish. The tradition of feasting on black-eyed peas cooked with pork—in large quantities—on New Year’s Day is a must for every Southerner. It  brings the whole family together under one roof around one big pot of delicious beans. It’s wholesome and healthy and uniquely Southern. But there’s one more thing that makes this tradition worth more than almost any other. As the saying goes, “the more Hoppin’ Johns you eat, the more money you will earn in the upcoming year.”

 

Hoppin' John for New Years! It is always a tradition in my home. I hope the kids pass this tradition to future generations with the fun we have together on New Year's too.

Hoppin’ John for New Years! It is always a tradition in my home. I hope the kids pass this tradition on to future generations.

With the passing of each year, I am starting to realize the importance of maintaining traditions. Holidays, and the traditions we associate with them, allow us to slow down and take a break from the “real world.” Some people I know wouldn’t ever have time on their constantly busy schedules for family if it weren’t for traditions. And for my unapologetically Southern family, Hoppin’ John at New Year’s is one of those traditions we don’t ever miss.

I am the kind of person that loves when things are laid out for me. Unlike other holidays, I know what I’m cooking and what I’ll be doing on New Year’s Day—Hoppin’ John, playing games, reflecting on the past year and the one ahead of us, new and filled with opportunities. As a holiday, New Year’s is much more laid back as the other ones, as special as they are. In a way, it’s about release, progress, and optimism.

I love playing hopscotch! Do any of you?

I love playing hopscotch! Do any of you?

Have you hula hooped lately. It a real positive as your hips get bigger!

Have you hula hooped lately? Try it out sometime—it’s great for your hips!

There is no guess-work. We will always be eating Hoppin’ John cooked with pork (black-eyed peas represent prosperity and pork represents forward progress), collards (the green color of the collards represents money), and cornbread. Altogether, the meal prep is sooooo simple (you can find the recipe here). Way less work than Christmas and Thanksgiving!

Collard greens are among my favorite winter vegetable and they are incredibly easy to prepare. You can cook every part of this vegetable from the leaf to the root.

Collard greens are among my favorite winter vegetables, and they are incredibly easy to prepare. You can cook every part of this vegetable, from the leaf to the root.

Southern Fried Cornbread was my Granny's specialty. She was only used to making small portions because my Dad is an only child. When I had this slew of kids, she had to get used to making a ton of this cornbread because it became my kid's favorite as well!

Southern Fried Cornbread was my Granny’s specialty. She was only used to making small portions because my dad was an only child. When I had this litter of kids, she had to get used to making a ton of this cornbread because it became my kids’ favorite as well!

One other reason that I just love celebrating our New Year’s tradition is that I get to go straight out to the garden and pull up the fresh collards to be cooked that day as well as the onions, and  I get to use the dried beans that I stored from our summer harvest.

My collards are really doing great this year. The weather has been perfect for my garden. In some ways I enjoy my winter garden more than the summer one. I don't have to fight the weeds!

My collards are really doing great this year. The weather has been perfect for my garden. In some ways, I enjoy my winter garden more than the summer one. I don’t have to fight the weeds!

The peas in the upper left are the black-eyed peas or field peas as they are known around these parts.

The peas in the upper left are the black-eyed peas, or field peas as they are known around these parts.

The meal just seems to taste extra good knowing that you planted and harvested the food that your family is enjoying. They love it that much more too!

You can hear more about my traditions growing up in the South as well as a recipe for Hoppin’ John New Year’s Salad on Cooking Network TV Blog.

Happy New Year and Happy Cooking!

You can find this recipe in my book!! I think you will love the fresh Southern recipes.

21 responses to “Hoppin’ John: A New Year’s Tradition”

  1. Mmmm… looks wonderful! My recipe is a bit different (with tomatoes) but this looks so delicious. I think I’ll try yours this year instead. Thanks for sharing it and may you have a VERY blessed 2014! ~ Amy

    • Stacy Harris says:

      It is so good to hear from you Amy. Tomatoes would be an awesome addition. I have had them that way. Let me know what you think of my recipe and thanks for giving it a try. You have a very Blessed 2014 as well!! Stacy

      • Hi Stacy,
        The Hoppin’ John recipe was a home run!! With the ham, cornbread, and other trimmings, it was hands down the best meal of the holidays. Everyone loved the black eyed peas and your recipe has now advanced to my “keeper” list. I’ve no doubt it will become a family tradition. Thanks so much for sharing it.

        • Stacy Harris says:

          Oh Amy, I am so glad that your family liked it. Hurray! Thanks so much for sharing this with me. That makes me so happy. We just LOVE this recipe.

  2. Holli Anthony says:

    Our tradition as well! I was taught how to make this as a newlywed, by a dear friend and mentor. 17 years later, my husband still looks forward to this. My recipe is a little different, with tomatoes, as well.

    • Stacy Harris says:

      I love that it is your tradition as well. I look forward to it too. I make it during the middle of the year and especially during the winter months to go with other main dishes or to have with cornbread crumbled up in it. It seems that quite a few people put tomatoes in their Hoppin’ John recipe. I look forward to trying it that way. Have a Happy New Year!

  3. This whole article makes me happy. Not just the recipe, though I do love any kind of legume cooked with ham hocks and have to try this one. It’s the whole family tradition angle which is just really sweet and more meaningful as my kids get older.

    • Stacy Harris says:

      Thanks Ray. The kids are just fantastic and make all traditions that much more fun. The neat thing is that we grow the peas, shell them, and put them up together as well as enjoy them.

  4. bob mailhot says:

    I also make hoppin John and another tradition is pork pie as I am from French Canadian background. I use this recipe except I use pork jowls instead of bacon.
    Bob

  5. kamayflemens says:

    You have just given me the best idea! I usually just pop open a can and heat to eat. I have some dried beans and a ham hock I am going to try this with! Thanks!

  6. Crystal Gray says:

    Made these today and they were absolutely wonderful! My husband added the peas were sensational! Thank you so very much for sharing and Happy New Year. …

  7. […] moist on the inside fried cornbread as much as I do!  This side pairs perfectly with Venison Soup, Hoppin’ John and Chili Con […]

  8. Geege says:

    Loved this! I’ve never had black eyed peas before and this recipe was the perfect introduction. Thank you so much for sharing you tradition. It will be part of our New Year’s Day celebration from here on out.

    • stacy says:

      Awesome Geege! I just created a recipe of gumbo using black-eyed peas. You are going to love that one. I think it’s the best gumbo I have ever eaten! Can’t wait to share it with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *