Hoppin Johns New Years Dish

Hoppin Johns has been a fun family tradition we started the year my daughter was born! Its considered a “lucky” dish, and I thought what fun to look into a little history behind the Hoppin Johns Recipe. (I have also worked years on perfecting this recipe, and this year my friends…. I hit the jack pot with simplicity and patience!)

The History

The first recipes for Hoppin’ John appear in cookbooks that date back to the 1840s, although the mixture of dried black eyed peas, rice and pork was made by Southern slaves long before then. It seems to have originated in South Carolina. Rice grew well in the deltas, but the white farmers had no real experience with cultivating rice on a large scale. However the slave trade and enslaved Africans who had grown rice for generations.

Any type of dried peas can be used for Hoppin’ Johns, the black-eyed pea is the most traditional. This pea happens to have been domesticated in West Africa, which led to the belief that slaves took the peas with them to the United States, planted them in their new surroundings and created a dish that would remind them of their lost homes.

 The origins of the name “Hoppin’ John” are slightly less clear. Some say an old, hobbled man called Hoppin’ John became known for selling peas and rice on the streets of Charleston. Others say slave children hopped around the table in eager anticipation of the dish. Most food historians think the name derives from a French term for dried peas, “pois pigeons.”

It’s also uncertain why the dish became associated with New Year’s and good luck. The most likely story is that slaves would often have the period between Christmas and New Year’s off, since no crops were growing at that time. Hoppin’ John was, and still is, often eaten with collard greens, which can resemble paper money, and “golden” cornbread. The peas themselves represent coins. Some families boost the potential of their Hoppin’ John by placing a penny underneath the dishes—or adding extra pork, which is thought to bring more luck. – The History Channel

Best Recipe…Like Ever.

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  • What you need….
  • Ham Hock
  • Black Eyed Peas (3 Cans) or 1 bag of dried (you must soak 24 hours prior to cooking.)
  • Stalk of Celery
  • 1 box Chicken Broth
  • Bay Leaves
  • Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Rice (I use 5 minute rice for the pure conveinence of it.)

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Lets get to cooking

Cut up hamhock into square 1/2 inch pieces.

Cut Celery Stalk into thin slices.

Take about 4 bay leaves out.

Throw into pot the following ingredients….Cut up celery, ham hock, bay leaves, oregana, Chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer until bay leaves become aromatic.

Next Throw in Black Eyed Peas.

Let Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Start your rice.

Once the rice is done scoop the Hoppin Johns on to the rice and add salt and pepper to taste!



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