recipe: hoppin’ john!
To mark New Year’s Eve in our household, I decided to make a traditional NYE dish – hoppin’ john. I figured, since my husband and I were going to celebrate very low-key (i.e. stay at home), this would be a good dinner to have. Hoppin’ john is a traditional southern dish, “thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck” according to Wikipedia. Additionally, “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, cabbage etc. along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money. Another traditional food, cornbread, can also be served to represent wealth — being the color of gold. 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.“
I made a 4-serving batch of this for dinner and ended up freezing half of it. We just ate the leftovers the other day and let me tell you, it was better than the night we originally ate it! I think it had something to do with the flavors marrying well as it froze and defrosted. So good.
I based my recipe off of the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, with a few tweaks (based on what I had, since I didn’t want to have to run out to the store on NYE). Use her recipe here or use mine with the minor tweaks, but just make this! I promise you won’t regret it.
Hoppin’ John (adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)
- 1 heaping tbsp chopped onion (frozen or fresh, I used frozen)
- 2/3 cup chopped green bell pepper (I used frozen)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 4 pieces of low-sodium bacon, diced, uncooked
- 1 tbsp smart balance butter
- 12 oz package of frozen black eyed peas
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- spinach (fresh or frozen)
- freshly grated black pepper or cayenne pepper to taste
1. Using a deep pot, melt butter at med-high heat. Add the bacon pieces, onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook til bacon is almost crisp, making sure not to burn any of the vegetables (stir often).
2. Add black eyed peas, stock and water. Season to taste with black pepper and/or cayenne pepper.
3. Bring to boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add as much or as little spinach as you want.
4. Serve with white or brown rice (I used a Target-brand rice mix with barley, red quinoa and wild rice).
Happy New Year!