Monday, January 2, 2023


Yesterday we ate our version of Hoppin' John, traditionally eaten on New Year's Day in the U.S.  (The traditional recipe included below.) I don't have a link to this one as we basically followed the instructions on the back of the box of rice we bought, with a few additions. 

Hoppin’ John - 6 servings 

1 lb. sausage meat

1 small sweet red pepper, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

6 green onions, sliced

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 box of Zatarain's Dirty Rice

2 cups water

1 can (15 ounces) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

In a large saucepan cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink. 

Drain any grease left in the pan.

Add the sweet red pepper, celery and onions and sauté for about three minutes, combining everything together.  

Add 2-1/2 cups water and the rice and give it a quick stir.

Bring to a boil on medium to high heat, cover and reduce heat to low for 25 minutes (this is according to the directions on our box of rice).  

Add the black-eyed peas, mix in and simmer for five minutes.  

Add the halved grape tomatoes for an additional two minutes, just long enough to heat through. 

Take off the heat and let rest for five minutes.

Serve and enjoy!  

The rice we used was this one.  It has enough spices that you don't need to add any extra.  Even then I did not find it too spicy.  

I thought we would enjoy this recipe but we both said it was even better than expected, very tasty.  

If you don't like it spicy you can always use regular long-grain rice and add your own seasonings. 

This is hearty enough that you could leave out the sausage and add extra beans if you prefer.

We added a little sour cream on the top.

There are enough leftovers for a couple of days. 

Traditional Southern Hoppin’ John - serves 8

I found this at Olivers, link here.

Traditionally eaten with collard greens, which is also considered a lucky vegetable.  

6 thick cut bacon slices, chopped
4 celery stalks, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 small red pepper, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
8 cups chicken broth
4 cups fresh or frozen black-eyed peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups uncooked rice
Fresh green onions, sliced

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until starting to crisp, about 10 minutes. 

Add celery, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. 

Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 8 minutes. 

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. 

Drain pea mixture, reserving cooking liquid. 

Return pea mixture and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to Dutch oven. Cover to keep warm; set aside.

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. Fluff rice with a fork, and gently stir into pea mixture in Dutch oven. Stir in remaining cooking liquid, 1⁄4 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Sprinkle servings with sliced fresh scallions.
One of the stories how this dish was named, and I suppose we take this with a pinch of salt as there are many stories, was because of an older gentleman with a bad leg nicknamed 'hoppin John'. John became known for selling peas and rice on the streets of Charleston

Originally brought to the States from West Africa, the beans grew well in the humidity of the southern states.  They were believed to be good luck charms to ward off bad spirits, thanks to the 'eye' in the center of the bean.  Interesting information at this link.

Eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is supposed to bring you good luck.  If you eat leftovers on the second day of the year, the name is transformed into Skippin Jenny and demonstrates one's frugality, bringing hope for a further chance of prosperity in the New Year.

One tradition common in the United States is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to ensure that the New Year will be filled with luck, fortune and romance. 

There are other interesting bits of history regarding this dish.  If you do a search with 'history of hoppin' John' in the subject line, all kinds of interesting information pops up.

Do you have any memories of your own traditions eating Hoppin' John?  I would enjoy reading them if you would like to share.


  1. Interesting. I have seen a number of recipes for this dish over the last few days. I don't think we have a traditional meal for New Years Day here.

    1. I only found out about it when I moved here. In Pennsylvania, since I wrote this post, it is Pork and Sauerkraut. I read "Pennsylvania Dutch lore dictates eating the fermented cabbage and pork will bring good fortune in the new year." and "The pig “roots forward” so if your first meal includes pork, you’ll move ahead all year, according to Pennsylvania German folklore. The swelling of the sauerkraut symbolizes bounty." I found this here:

      The history of food I find fascinating.

  2. I never knew what Hopping John was! It looks good!

    1. It does look good. I think next year I will try the traditional version. Thanks Ginny!

  3. It looks hearty, filling and jam packed with flavours!

  4. I knew about black eyed peas for new year tradition, but this recipe is new to me.

    1. I don't think we would have made it this way if Gregg hadn't have read the back of the box. I am happy he did, it was very tasty.

  5. I've never had that but it sounds delicious. Our traditional new years dinner is pork and sauerkraut.

  6. We recall that when we lived in VA this was a popular dish to start off the New Year as were collard greens.

    1. I forgot about the collard greens Dorothy. Thanks for the reminder :) They will be on the menu next year.

  7. this looks fantastic, I had forgotten about this rice, will check it to make sure I can eat it. we had rice and blackeyes yesterday, we always have collard greens with it but I forgot to cook them... this looks delish

    1. I hope you can eat this rice Sandra, but I'm sure it would be very good with plain rice. I'm going to have to remember those collard greens :) I forgot them too.

  8. Sounds and looks great! I love spicy food.

    1. Thank you Gigi, the older I get the more I seem to like spicy food :)

  9. I enjoy learning something new here today with these eating traditions. A very Happy New Year to you and yours, Denise!

    1. I enjoyed reading the info for my post Ellen and happy you enjoyed it. Thank you and A Very Happy New Year to you and yours also :)

  10. This sounds delicious Denise. I filling meal on a cold Winter's day is good. I like the story and seasonal tradition. In Italy lentils are eaten as a side dish on New Year's Eve. Wishing you and Gregg a blessed new year 2023.

    1. Happy you think so Linda. I enjoyed learning about Italy's New Year's Eve dish, thank you. Thank you and I wish you and Mr. P. the same :)

  11. Interesting dish. A very Happy New Year to you. May it be a healthy and happy year for you all.Cheers Diane

    1. Thank you Diane, and I would like to wish you all the happiest and healthiest of New Years. Cheers from me to you too :)

  12. I'd not heard of Hoppin' John before, an interesting read ... thank you.

    My good wishes for a happy 2023.

    All the best Jan

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Jan and my good wishes to you too for a happy new year :)

  13. The rice dish looks like a wonderful winter food

  14. Replies
    1. Thanks William :) I was wondering if you had any New Year's Day food traditions.

  15. This looks good. Your remark about the recipe cracked me up because my mother in law loves cranberries at holidays and is known for doing a great job with them and she gets lots of requests for her recipe and she says she uses the recipe on the package. People think she is kidding and is not wanting to give out the true but she is not. She really does use the recipe on the package.

    1. Now this makes me smile. Thanks for the chuckle Yogi and bless your mother-in-law. A Happy and Very Healthy New Year to you and your dear family :)

  16. I have never heard of this before! Thanks.


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