Traditional Southern Hoppin John Recipe
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Hoppin John, a traditional southern dish enjoyed each year on New Year’s Day, is made of black-eyed peas, rice, and flavored with pork.
Located in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the region east of the sand hills to the coast, Folly Beach is where I spent much time and most of my holidays as a child. My grandparents were full-time residents of the small island community just outside of Charleston, SC, and, like a magnet, it pulled us back every chance we got to steal away for a few days.
During the holidays it was a given we would be at Folly, especially to celebrate the New Year. My Nana threw a big New Year’s Day bash every year, with a full spread of traditional southern New Year’s Day fare. I remember fondly the platefuls of fried hog jowls that she began frying early in the day. By the time the plate was piled high with the golden goodness, we could’ve completed a full triple lutz on her well oiled linoleum floor.
The pile of hog jowls was only one of the menu items that graced the table the first day of every year. Collard greens and my personal favorite, Hoppin John, a flavorful blend of black-eyed peas and rice, accented with pork, also shared in the glory on those special days.
Each dish is symbolic: the pork represents progress in the new year; the collards, being green like money, prosperity; then, of course, the Hoppin’ John, for all-around good luck. And sakes alive, I ate my weight in good luck. That’s a lot of good luck, man.
Hoppin’ John is a dish that elevates the most basic ingredients to a place all its own. Deliciously good eats is what it is. If you’ve never enjoyed Hoppin’ John, southern or not, you should give it a go this year. And with my Nana’s recipe you’ll be in good hands. Be sure to let me know how it goes.
Wishing you a Happy New Year full of all things good and tasty! Enjoy!
These favorite recipes would be perfect for New Year’s Day too:
- Ham and Cheese Breakfast Muffins Recipe
- Balsamic Beer Braised Pork Roast Recipe
- Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins Recipe
- Uncle Bobby’s Banana Pudding Recipe
- Southern Collard Greens Recipe from Grandbaby Cakes
Hoppin John Recipe
Hoppin John Recipe
A traditional New Year's day southern dish full of flavor.
- 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas (note: there will be peas leftover to serve as a side)
- 8 cups water, divided
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 small ham hock (or 1/4 lb. hog jowl)
- 5 slices of thick cut bacon (or hog jowl)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- Over medium heat, place the dried black-eyed peas, 6 cups of water, salt and ham hock. Cook covered over medium heat until tender, about 2-2 1/2 hours.
- While the peas are cooking, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside, reserving the bacon grease.
- Sauté chopped onion in the bacon grease until softened.
- Separately, in a large sauce pan, with a tight-fitting lid, add the rice, 2 cups of the the pea liquid, 2 cups of water, 2 cups of the cooked black-eyed peas, sautéed onions, bacon grease, crumbled bacon and red pepper flakes. Cook covered over medium-low heat until rice is done, about 15-20 minutes. If needed add more pea liquid if rice gets too dry.
I’ve got some hog jowl in the fridge and I think this is what I will be making with it. YUM! Happy New Year!
Making this tonight, had one question what do you do with the ham hock after the peas have cooked?
Amy what a hearty low-country dish!! Happy 3013!
I just made this for the first time and it was AMAZING! Happy 2014!
Happy 2014 to you too, Jen! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe.
Is the ham hock smoked or do I use uncooked?
I would use a cured ham hock. Smoked would be fine.
I’m not familiar with this tradition, but I could always use some extra luck!
Tasty traditions are the best kind! 😉
Making this today! How long do the peas cook….are we talking hours?
Um … that would depend on how tender you like them … maybe around an hour?
Amazing! I love heritage recipes like this. It did not disappoint. Thanks for sharing! O
So glad to hear that you enjoyed it, Oliver!
Hopping John is a dish that was created by black people back in the slavery days. The whole good luck, money, and prosperity was a way for them to have something to look forward to in the future. Your recipe soungs good though. Happy 2016.
All time, great comfort food. Nothing better.
Oh how I miss family parties piled high with good ole southern food. I grew up in Georgia and now live in Boston and it’s just not the same! I still try to sneak down a few times a year and gain 30 pounds a trip in fried foods and sweet tea. Thanks for sharing 🙂
This recipe is garbage. After only an hour, my peas are complete mush. Are they supposed to be cooked covered? Uncovered? No one know…because it’s not is the frickin directions. Don’t waste your time on this. You’ll just be pissed.
The recipe clearly says covered and calls for dried peas, not canned.
Aren’t you a little ray of sunshine…
Happy New Year! 😉
Happy New Year 2018!! I made this recipe tonight and I must say , “It was soooo good!!!!” I made collard greens and smothered chicken with it. Delish!! A must try!
I was looking for recipe for hoppin john . i found yours. This is similar to one my grandmom used make. Iam fromsouth carolina iam about foudty five minutes from Charleston in small town. My grandmom would make hoppin jon. I made it today for New Year 2019. It was good. I didnt have hog jowl or bus meat like my grandparents call it. I use bacon grease. I also cooked country ham. , green beans with potato and ham cut up in there. Instead ham hock. I use bone from country ham that still had meat on it.I made cornbread muffin from startch no jiffy and blondie broqnies ice cream for dessert.From one sothern girl to another thanks for recipe.
You’re welcome, Veronica!
I was born and raised in the low country of SC. My parents made this dish often. I truly appreciate you sharing your Nanna recipe. I could never get my Hoppin John perfect like my parents. I will definitely try your style
This is “hop john” the way I grew up with it. Black-eyed peas, rice, onion and bacon. Salt the bejesus out of it, and eat it by the kilo. I don’t eat pork any more, but I just made a pile of hop john with just onions fried in a small ocean of oil, and let the rice and beans get that little crust on the bottom in the frying pan, and it is the food of the gods, I say.