Hoppin’ John – A Southern Tradition

In the south, it’s customary to serve hoppin’ john for dinner on New Year’s Day.  The saying is, “Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year. Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold”.  These foods were what the blue-collar, hardworking families usually had on hand.  You have the perfect meal of luck for the new year.



What you need:

Black Eyed Peas

  • 2 Large ham hocks
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 ½ cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  • 1 bunch of collards
  • 1 bunch of mustard
  • 1 bunch of beet greens (you usually have to buy the beets too)
  • 1/3 cup of salt pork, cut into large chunks
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups cooked rice

Traditionally served with Cornbread as well (the gold!)


How to do it:

I usually start the beans, and then move onto the greens, moving back and forth until they are both simmering.

Bring the beans and the broth to a hard boil.  Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining ingredients.  Cook on medium for about 30 minutes, then reduce to low and simmer for about 2 hours, until the beans are tender.  Remove the ham hocks and allow to cool enough to pull the meat off.  Replace the meat to the pot and heat again.  Drain the liquid.

Gently brown the salt pork on low for about 5-10 minutes.  Wash and chop the greens.  Add them to the pot with enough water to cover them.  Bring it all to a boil.  Cover and simmer for about 2 hours.

Serve together with the rice.

Serves about 4-6


© Copyright 2015 The Lazy Gastronome