Hoppin’ John – Black-eyed Peas and Rice – Means riches for the new year!



What are your traditions for the New Year?  Do you eat certain foods for good luck in hopes of increasing your wealth ?   I have always had black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day.   It was for good luck for the rest of the year I was told.  

I love Hoppin’ John!  We were discussing food traditions in class one day and I mentioned Hoppin’ John and I was surprised that so few were familiar with the dish.  History says it came from the Charleston , South Carolina area.  The name from children hopping around the table before eating, or a saying ” Hop in John”  meaning for a guest to sit down to eat or a cripple named John hawking peas on the streets of Charleston.   

I have been using Emeril Lagassse’s  recipe since 2002.   I love this stuff!  But I am one of those that grew up eating butter beans over rice as a snack after school. It  is very inexpensive to make.  Pair it with some hot cornbread and it is better than dessert!!   I like to make it a day ahead because the flavors develop.  Anyway I am eating 365 peas for good luck and I am going to enjoy every one of them. 

Happy New Year to all! 

Start with a pound of dried black-eyed peas

  These will have to be soaked overnight then rinsed.  I have tried the shortcut method of boiling them first, but it just has never worked for me. 

Soak in water overnight

 Make sure that you put enough water because these little peas will double in size.  That means a lot of water. 

After soaking all night then drain and rinse with cold water.

! cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup chopped green pepper

Tablespoon of chopped garlic

Now it’s time to start cooking !! 

Sear large ham hock in olive oil

This one looked pretty scrawny to me so I seared 2 small ham hocks.  I really do not know how to judge the size of ham hocks.  Use your best judgement here! 

Searing 2 ham hocks in olive oil

Add green pepper, celery, onion and garlic. Cook for about 4 minutes.

Add peas

Add about 1 1/2 qt of chicken stock

Add seasonings now!  Bay leaf, 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. 

Add seasonings

Now be patient and let this simmer for about an hour or until the peas are nice and soft.  Be careful not to use a really high heat because the boiling will tear the skins of the peas.  You want the peas to be soft and creamy.  Yummy!! 

Cover and simmer for about an hour.

Cooked rice

Follow the directions for cooking the rice that are on the package and you cannot go wrong.  You will been 2 parts water and 1 part rice.  Bring 3 cups of water to boil and add 11/2 cups of long grained rice.  Bring back to a boil and turn to simmer.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Perfect! 

Now pair this with your favorite cornbread! 

Looks good

You can crumble it up and add to the broth.

 Hoppin’ John 

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large ham hock
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 teaspoons dry thyme leaves
  • salt, pepper, and cayenne
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped green onion
  • 8 cups of cooked rice

Heat oil in large soup pot, add the ham hock and sear all edges for about 4 minutes.  Add the onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, cook for 4 minutes.  Add the black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, thyme, and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour until the peas are creamy and tender,  stir occasionally.  If the liquid evaporates add more water or stock.  Adjust seasonings .  I like to add Tobasco sauce for some heat!  Serve over hot cooked rice and garnish with green onions. 

Makes about 10 servings 

Happy New Year! 

The Teacher Cooks



Filed under Blackeyed peas, Cooking, Hoppin' John, Recipes, Rice

2 responses to “Hoppin’ John – Black-eyed Peas and Rice – Means riches for the new year!

  1. Julie Chapman

    Why do you sear the ham hocks? I have always just thrown them in.


  2. We normally have black eyed peas and cabbage. I didn’t eat either one this year. I hope that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad year….I guess we will have to wait and see.

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