Hoppin’ John

by Chef

The Southern low country Soul Food fixin’ dates back to the 1830’s. Hoppin’ John (slow-cooked black-eyed peas mixed with cooked rice) is served at midnight to begin the New Year. Hoppin’ John has a history of New Year luck “Eat poor that day; eat rich all year long”. Another says: “place a penny in the black-eyed peas just before serving; whoever finds the coin in his or her portion will have good luck throughout the year.” My favorite saying is “rice for riches and peas for peace”. What the heck, a little extra cash and a prayer may bring some additional good luck for 2016. We can all use that. If none of this lore suits you, just be certain to leave three peas on your plate to ensure that the New Year will be filled with luck, fortune and romance.

Serves: 6 Servings


  • 1 ¼ cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 4 cups ham hock broth or stock (keep some extra on hand)
  • 2 cups chopped bacon or cook ham removed from the hock bone
  • 1 ½ cups yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf


Soak the beans over night in water to plump the peas, and then rinse them the next day before cooking. In a heavy soup pot add sautéed ham hock or bacon and diced onions. Sauté for five to ten minutes, then add garlic and stir. Add the black-eyed peas into the hot mixture and stir well to coat the peas. Once the peas are coated well, add the ham broth and bay leaf, then cover and cook the peas slowly for 1 and ½ hours. In a separate pot cook an 8 oz bag of converted rice, following the instructions on the bag. Thirty minutes before serving, add one cup of cooked rice to the peas and let simmer with the lid on for another half hour.
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