Skip to content

Hoppin’ John – Black Eyed Peas Southern Style

New Year’s Day is really synonymous with Hoppin’ John in my vocabulary. I don’t think of one without the other. Whether Southern folks call it by the name Hoppin’ John or just Black Eyed Peas (sometimes known as field peas) with Rice is of no importance, the fact remains that the tradition of consuming – in large quantities – black-eyed peas cooked with pork on New Year’s Day is a must for EVERY SOUTHERNER. The story goes, the more 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 to future generations with the fun we have together on New Year’s too.

As each year passes, I am beginning to realize the importance of maintaining traditions.  I am not sure many folks would ever slow down their incessantly busy schedules if it weren’t for the traditions in their lives. One Southern tradition that brings me many fond memories are those spent with family at the arrival of the new year.

I am the kind of person that loves when things are laid out for me. On New Year’s Day, unlike other holidays, I KNOW WHAT I AM COOKING and WHAT I WILL BE DOING – cooking, playing games,

I love playing hopscotch! Do any of you?

I love playing hopscotch! Do any of you?

throwing the football in the yard, hula hooping in the house (it really is a lot of fun),

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

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

There is no guess-work. We will always be eating Hoppin’ John cooked with pork (black-eyed peas represent prosperity – pork represents forward progress), collards (a symbol of the color of money),

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 vegetable and they are incredibly easy to prepare. You can cook every part of this vegetable from the leaf to the root.

and cornbread which are sooooo simple to prepare.

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 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!

One other reason that just love celebration 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,

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!

and  I get to use the dried beans that I stored from our summer harvest.

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 food 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 find my tradition growing up in the South and a recipe for Hoppin’ John New Year’s Salad on Cooking Network TV Blog.

Happy New Year’s and Happy Cooking!

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

This meal is one of my very favorites. It brings to mind such great memories growing up.

This meal is one of my very favorites. It brings to mind such great memories growing up.

HOPPIN’ JOHN – Black Eyed Peas Southern Style

  • 1/2 pound bacon (cut into small pieces) or ham hock and 2 teaspoons bacon drippings
  • 1  Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups (16 oz) heirloom fresh black-eyed peas
  • 4 cups water or chicken stock, add more water if needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups steamed white rice ( I prefer short grained rice for this recipe though the original recipe used long grain)
  • scallions, for garnish
  1. Soak black-eyed peas in cold water for 24 to 36 hours.  Occasionally remove the scum that rises to the top of the water.  Rinse halfway through the 24 hours, add more water to the pot and repeat.  Drain peas. I If you don’t have time to soak your peas, place peas in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat once it reaches a boil and let the peas stand for 1 hour. Drain and use in recipe).
  2. If you are using bacon, place bacon in a large pot over medium heat until bacon is crisp. If you are using a ham hock, heat bacon drippings until hot.  If using bacon, remove all but about 3 Tablespoons of bacon drippings, but leave the bacon in the pan. Add celery and  1 cup of the onions to the pot and sauté until soft (about 4 minutes). Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.

    Sautè onions, celery, and garlic before adding the peas and stock.

    Sautè onions, celery, and garlic before adding the peas and stock.

  3. Place black-eyed peas, chicken stock,  cayenne, salt, and pepper into the pot.  If you are using a ham hock, place it in the pot with the vegetables. Bring to a boil, and then lower to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour or until peas are creamy and tender.  Stir occasionally.  If the liquid evaporates, add more water.

    Pour the peas and stock into the pot and simmer for about an hour only to await the most flavorful peas you have ever had!

    Pour the peas and stock into the pot and simmer for about an hour only to await the most flavorful peas you have ever had!

  4. Meanwhile cook the rice.
  5. Once peas are done, remove ham hock and pull any meat off the bone and place the meat into the collards if serving with collards (which I highly suggest). Adjust seasonings and top with scallions.  Serve over rice.

21 responses to “Hoppin’ John – Black Eyed Peas Southern Style”

  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 *