This traditional New Year’s Day dish of the south (especially South Carolina and Georgia) has a mixed history. Sephardic (Spanish or Portuguese) Jews who settled in the region had eaten black-eyed peas (technically, beans) on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the African servants they employed had eaten a similar dish cooked with rice. Rice was a big crop in early South Carolina, and the popularity of the dish spread, with the addition of pork in non-Jewish households. Hoppin’ John is eaten with New Year’s dinner for prosperity and good luck, and it was once said that you would get a dollar (or a coin) in the coming year for every pea you consumed! Sometimes a coin would be hidden in the dish, to the delight of children. Hoppin’ John is often served with collards or cabbage, as green is the color of paper money. Some folks prefer this dish spicy, others like it mild.
- 4 C
- black-eyed peas, cooked with ham (or 2-3 cans black eyed peas with chopped ham added)
- 1/2 C
- Chopped Onion
- 1/2 tsp
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 1/2 C
- 1/2 tsp (or less)
- black pepper
- Add rice to cooked beans and ham with enough water to cook it without drying the dish out completely—about 2 cups if you’re using instant rice, and 3 ½ cups if you’re using regular rice.
- Sauté the onions and add to the dish (with pepper flakes and black pepper as desired).
- Taste for seasoning; add more if you like.
- Serve warm as a main or side dish.
Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/hoppin-john/