Hoppin John is the perfect recipe to serve on New Year’s Day for good luck in the new year!
Do you eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day? I grew up in the South, so this has been a life-long tradition of my family! Growing up, we’d eat black-eyed peas and cornbread. As an adult, I’ve ventured out a bit to find other ways to incorporate black-eyed peas into the New Year’s Day menu. Hoppin John is one of my favorites! And today I’m going to share my recipe with you so that you can start the tradition in your family or simply try something new this year.
But first… a little history on why southerners eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Eve or day! According to Southern folklore, eating these tasty legumes on New Year’s Day brings luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead. The practice is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. The peas were not considered worthy of General Sherman’s Union troops. When Union soldiers raided the Confederates food supplies, legend says they took everything but left behind the peas and salted pork. The Confederates thought they were lucky to be left with those meager supplies, and thus were able to survive the winter. No wonder the peas became symbolic of luck!
Today, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for the New Year continues and has evolved into a number of variations and embellishments of the luck and prosperity theme. The peas symbolize pennies and coins. If they are served with greens (which some Hoppin John recipes include, but not mine), the greens represent money. The cornbread often served with the peas and greens represents gold. If stewed tomatoes are added to the menu, they represent wealth and health.
So there you have it… lots of reasons to fetch yourself some peas before New Year’s Day arrives!
To make this recipe super simple, I’ve use canned black-eyed peas. If you can find them (or you are more of a purist than I am), by all means — get yourself some fresh peas!
- 8 slices of bacon
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup of chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
- 1/2 pound of andouille or other smoked sausage, sliced
- 3 cups of chicken broth or stock
- 3 cans black-eyed peas, undrained
- 1 1/2 cups of uncooked, long grain rice
- 1/4 cup of chopped, sliced pickled jalapeno
- 1/4 cup of sliced green onion
- 2 pinches of kosher salt, or to taste
- 10 turns of the pepper grinder, or to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Tony Chacheres) to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- Saute bacon in a cast iron Dutch oven and saute until slightly browned
- Remove the bacon and cut into small pieces
- Add the onion, green bell pepper and celery to bacon grease
- Saute for about 5 minutes, until soft
- Add the garlic and cook another minute
- Add bacon back to pot
- Add sausage and cook another 3 minutes
- Add the broth and black-eyed peas
- Bring to a boil.
- Stir in the rice, jalapenos
- Season with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning
- Add the bay leaf and return to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
- Remove from the heat and allow to sit covered for another 10 minutes before serving.
- Fluff with a fork
- Remove bay leaf and serve garnished with sliced green onion
- If you can find them or if you are a purist, by all means... use fresh green beans!
Praying your new year is blessed and lovely in every way!
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