How To: Cook Black Eyed Peas on New Year's Day (Hoppin' John Recipe)

Cook Black Eyed Peas on New Year's Day (Hoppin' John Recipe)

If you've been wondering why you're so unlucky, maybe it's because you haven't been following the New Year's Day tradition like everyone else in the world.  So, if you want your luck to change in 2011, you better grab the black-eyed peas and make some Hoppin' John!

How to Cook Black Eyed Peas on New Year's Day (Hoppin' John Recipe)Now, Hoppin' John is actually a Southern version of a simple rice and beans dish found in the Caribbean.  The Hoppin' John New Year's Day version uses black-eyed peas, which are also known as cowpeas (considered field peas).  Also, in most Hoppin' John recipes you'll find, in addition to peas, rice, onions and ham.

I can't sum its symbolism better than Wikipedia:

Throughout the coastal South, eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck.  The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls.  Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, kale, etc., along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money.  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.  During the late Middle Ages, there was a tradition of eating beans on New Year's Day for good luck in parts of France and Spain.  The European tradition mixed with an African food item to become a New World tradition.

How to Cook Black Eyed Peas on New Year's Day (Hoppin' John Recipe)One tradition common in the Southern USA is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to assure that the New Year will be filled with Luck, Fortune and Romance.  Another tradition holds that counting the number of peas in a serving predicts the amount of luck (or wealth) that the diner will have in the coming year.

So, if it's luck and money you want in 2011, Betty's Kitchen can show you how to get it, with Betty's own version Hoppin' John, which has been designed it to meet the requirements of the traditional dish, yet taste wonderful!

Enjoy!  The Hoppin' John recipe is detailed below the video.

Black-eyed Peas Recipe (VIDEO)


  • ½ stick butter or margarine, melted
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • (2) 10 ½ oz. soup cans beef broth
  • (1) 10 ½ oz. soup can long grain white rice, uncooked
  • (2) 15 oz. cans black-eye peas
  • (2) 5 oz. cans of Hormel smoked chunked ham, cut into cubes (or equivalent)
  • Salt and pepper to taste, optional (salt will probably not be needed, as almost all ingredients are salted)


  1. Place ¾ cup chopped onion in a small saucepan containing ½ stick melted butter.
  2. Saute the onions over low heat until clear and caramelized.
  3. Meanwhile, empty the 2 cans of beef broth and 1 soup can of white rice into a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 14 to 15 minutes, until almost all beef broth is absorbed by the rice.
  5. When the onions are sautéed, and the rice is cooked, you may start assembling your Hopping John.
  6. In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, combine sautéed onions, cooked rice, 2 cans black eye peas, and 2 cans smoked ham. Salt and pepper, if desired.
  7. Mix thoroughly, and place over medium heat until the mixture boils.
  8. Reduce heat, and simmer about 5 minutes.
  9. Pour the Hoppin John mixture into a large serving bowl.
  10. Place a coin under the serving bowl for good luck.
  11. Serve on individual plates, along with cooked greens, and Onion and Cheddar Cheese Cornsticks, and a cold glass of iced tea! The greens are served as part of the tradition of increasing your prosperity during the up-coming year.

Happy New Year!

How to Cook Black Eyed Peas on New Year's Day (Hoppin' John Recipe)

If you're looking for a different recipe, check out all of the black-eyed peas recipes on WonderHowTo.

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1 Comment

I just don't know about putting canned ham into this dish. In fact, if I were making it, I'd use either fresh, frozen, or dry black eyed peas, and use real sliced ham, or if you can get a good, meaty ham hock (hard to find), or use thick sliced bacon for the flavoring.

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