If you’re not familiar with Hoppin’ John, it is a dish served in the Southern United States consisting of black-eyed peas (or field peas) and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt. Some people substitute ham hock, or country sausage for the conventional bacon; a few use green peppers or vinegar and spices. In the southern United States, 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, 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 this yummy dish last year, and thought for sure I has posted it right afterwards, but my bad for not doing so. This recipe contains bacon, so if you’d like to make it vegetarian, simply omit that and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock. This can be served as a stew or you can use a slotted spoon to drain it. Some people like to have the “sauce” on the side to dip their cornbread in.
- 1 1/2 cups Black Eyed Peas
- 4 oz. bacon, cooked & chopped
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 bunch of carrots, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, cut in half lengthwise
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock/broth
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 sprig fresh Thyme
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch Collard greens, leaves stripped from stem
- Rinse the peas under cold water and pick out any stones or discolored peas. Bring the peas to boil in a medium saucepan full of cold water. Boil the peas for 10 minutes. As the beans cool, start chopping the vegetables. If you are planning to simmer the stew all day, skip boiling the peas.
- Cook bacon in a skillet or the microwave, set aside.
- Combine peas, diced bell pepper, onion, carrots, garlic, jalapeño halves, stock and seasonings in a slow cooker. Cook for at least 4 hours on low.
- About an hour before you are ready to serve, prepare the collards by cutting the leaves into strips and add them to the stew.
- Add the reserved cooked bacon at this time. Cook the stew for another 40-60 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves, thyme stems, and jalapeno halves.
- Serve alone or over of your favorite rice. If desired, can top with cheddar cheese, scallions and a drizzle of white vinegar.
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