Classic Hoppin’ John

The tradition of eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day is believed to have its roots in Southern folklore. The tradition has deep West African roots. The black-eyed peas are said to represent coins, and eating them is said to bring good fortune and prosperity in the coming year. The addition of greens, like collard greens, is thought to represent money (green dollar bills), further emphasising the idea of wealth and good luck. Another traditional food, cornbread, can also be served to represent wealth, because it has the colour of gold. On the day after New Year’s Day, leftover “Hoppin’ John” is called “Skippin’ Jenny” and further demonstrates one’s frugality, bringing hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year.


  • 6 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped 
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 8 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen black-eyed peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked Carolina Gold Rice          
  • Fresh scallions, sliced


Step 1. Cook vegetables and peas:

  1. bake them for about 10 minutes in a Dutch oven, over medium-high, stirring occasionally until starting to crisp.
  2. Add celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon of the salt.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, for about 8 minutes. 
  4. Add broth and black-eyed peas, and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until peas are tender, about 40 minutes.
  5. Drain pea mixture, reserving cooking liquid. Return pea mixture and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to the Dutch oven. Cover to keep warm; set aside.

Step 2. Cook rice:

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the reserved cooking liquid and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until rice is tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
  2. Fluff rice with a fork, and gently stir into a pea mixture in the Dutch oven.
  3. Stir in remaining cooking liquid, 1⁄4 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Sprinkle servings with sliced fresh scallions.
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