Dairy Free / Egg free / For the Holidays! / Savory and Splendid!

Hoppin’ John (A traditional New Year’s meal)

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Happy New Year!

Today, I made Hoppin’ John! This a traditional New Year’s meal, incorporating black eyed peas, or pigeon peas. I had always heard that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day was traditional, but never knew why.

So, I went to Wikipedia and learned what it had to say: “Hoppin’ John is a dish served in the Southern United States consisting of black-eyed peas (or field peas) and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt.[1] Some people substitute ham hock, fatback, or country sausage for the conventional bacon; a few use green peppers or vinegar and spices. Smaller than black-eyed peas, field peas are used in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia; black-eyed peas are the norm elsewhere….In the southern United States, eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck.[2][3] The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls.[4] Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, kale, cabbage etc. along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money.[5] Another traditional food, cornbread, can also be served to represent wealth, being the color of gold. On the day after New Year’s Day, leftover “Hoppin’ John” is called “Skippin’ Jenny,” and further demonstrates one’s frugality, bringing a hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year.[6][7]

So why is it called “Hoppin’ John? That is what I was wondering after learning a little bit about the dish. I found this explanation at http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/HoppinJohn.htm

“Most food historians generally agree that Hoppin John is an American dish with African/French/Caribbean roots. There are many tales or legends that explain how Hoppin’ John got its name:

It was the custom for children to gather in the dining room as the dish was brought forth and hop around the table before sitting down to eat.

A man named John came “a-hoppin” when his wife took the dish from the stove.

An obscure South Carolina custom was inviting a guest to eat by saying, “Hop in, John”

The dish goes back at least as far as 1841, when, according to tradition, it was hawked in the streets of Charleston, South Carolina by a crippled black man who was know as Hoppin’ John.”

Now that we have had our history lesson for the day, in the end it is all about this great dish. I don’t really have anything else to say but I ‘hopped’ right in (ha ha, pretty clever, huh?!) and ate a couple of bowls. I am not planning on it giving me prosperity for the new year, just a full belly for tonight. I definitely will plan on making this dish again in another New Year, though.

May the Lord richly bless you and your family this new year! -Shelley.

Hoppin’ John Recipe

2 cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained (if you really want to soak your dried peas, go ahead and do that. I didn’t, though.)
1 large ham steak, chopped into small pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green pepper, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped (or a big can of stewed tomatoes)
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock
1 T Mrs. Dash seasoning – optional
1/2 T Aminos Liquid All Purpose Seasoning – optional
A couple of tablespoons of olive oil to saute veggies in
A couple of handfuls of spinach

In a large Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Chop onion, celery, green pepper and garlic and saute for a few minutes.

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Chop ham steak into small pieces and add to veggies.

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Chop tomatoes and add to mix.

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Next add your 4 cups of chicken stock.

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Add bay leaf…

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Aminos….

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Mrs. Dash….

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Pepper….

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Salt….

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Pinch of cayenne….

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And finally rinsed black eyed peas. (I apologize, this is a blurry picture!)

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Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for about 45 minutes. Much of the broth will evaporate and it will cook down.

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Serve as is, or if you want to add a couple of handfuls of spinach and stir until it is wilted. {I had a .49 Manager’s Special bag of spinach that I had to use, otherwise we were going to lose it. I am glad I added it though!}

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Serve over rice, or with cornbread, eat up and enjoy! Happy New Year!

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4 thoughts on “Hoppin’ John (A traditional New Year’s meal)

  1. This looks wonderful, Shelley. What is Aminos, and what “flavor” of Mrs. Dash did you use? I’m thinking this is in our immediate future. 🙂

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    • Aunt Lisa,

      Aminos is a “Natual Soy Sauce Alternative” {as stated on the packaging}. I use it a lot in flavoring foods. The title on the label is: Bragg Liquid Aminos All Purpose Seasoning. You can find it at health food stores or in the health food section of grocery stores, sometimes. I don’t think having it or not having it will make or break your recipe. You could probably use soy sauce in it’s place, or take it out all together and have to add more salt to the recipe. I just used the Original {yellow label} Mrs. Dash. I am sure you could use any all purpose seasoning as well if you don’t have that.

      This really was a tasty meal and I don’t know why we save it for a once a year meal! I will probably be making again, maybe using other meat besides ham since we never really keep that as a staple in our house. Maybe make it with chicken and bacon. Other beans would be great in it as well! Let me know how yours turns out! Love you and it was good seeing you last week!!

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  2. Reblogged this on and commented:

    This is a post I wrote last year on New Year’s Day. I thought I would reblog it a few days before this coming New Year for those who might be looking for a traditional new years meal to cook. Enjoy! -Shelley.

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