Ringing in the new year with this traditional southern classic, Hoppin John!
Happy New Year everyone!
Wow, it’s so crazy to me how quickly 2017 flew by! I can’t believe we are already saying hello to 2018, but I’m ready for it. While 2017 was an okay year for me professionally, it was a very hard year for me emotionally as I lost several family members. I celebrate life though, and they are always with me in spirit so I thought for 2018 I would bring in the New Year the right way, with a proper New Year’s Day meal.If you’re from the South, then you should know all about this classic hoppin john. If you aren’t, have no fear as I’m here to introduce you to this DELICIOUS meal. In the south, a traditional hoppin john is thought to bring prosperity and luck into the New Year. It’s a staple New Year’s dish that’s made with black eyed peas, ham-hocks, the holy creole trinity of celery, bell peppers, and onions and lots of delicious seasoning and spices. Black eyed peas were introduced to the Americas through the transatlantic slave trade, and this was something that the slaves would make with whatever they had on hand. I love this dish because it is just like beans and rice that we eat in Nigeria, and the flavor combinations are just outstanding!Because this was traditionally made with whatever was on hand; you will find a lot of recipe variations. I of course have simplified it, but kept all the flavors in tact! I used both ham-hocks and bacon, but honestly you can use whatever meat you prefer. I’ve seen hoppin john made with beef, chicken, and even oxtails. (Doesn’t the oxtail sound amazing?). The great thing about hoppin john is that its easy and made all in one pot. Easy cleanup, and other than chopping the vegetables there really isn’t much work.
For the black eyed peas, I went with the quick soaking method instructions that came on the bag of beans. You also have the option of using canned black eyed peas, but you’ll need to shorten the cook time as they can turn out quite mushy if left to cook for too long. The reason I like to use the non-cooked beans is to prevent that mushiness. Please note, that you should always sort, wash, and soak your beans. Lots of times you’ll find stones in the beans, and I promise you do not want to take a bite of a small stone with the beans. Your teeth will thank me later. This process may seem time consuming, but its an essential step!
Hoppin John is traditionally served with collard greens, also thought to bring luck and prosperity, but also WEALTH! For my New Years Day feast, I made fried chicken, collard greens, and mashed potatoes to go along with the hoppin john. I also made a delicious jalapeno cornbread to go along with it. Don’t worry guys, I will be sharing the recipe for all of these very soon!
Here’s to a Happy New Year! I’m wishing you all lots of love, wealth, health, and prosperity! Thanks for continuing on this journey with me! xX -Evi
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 medium sized onion, diced
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 small ham-hock
- 3 slices of applewood smoked bacon, diced
- 1½ cups of dried black eyed peas
- 3 cups of low sodium chicken stock
- 2 tbsp cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- green onions, chopped (for garnish if desired)
- Wash and soak beans according to package instructions. Once they have been drained they are ready to cook.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pot. Once heated, add the bell pepper, onions, celery, bacon, and ham-hock and saute just until they become translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, stir together, and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the black eyed peas to the pot, along with the chicken stock, and seasonings. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-low to simmer for 2½ hours. If you've lost too much liquid you can add water as needed.
- Serve with over rice, and garnish with chopped green onions if desired.