Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John

Slave ships departing West Africa were provisioned with black-eyed peas to sustain the captives during the Middle Passage across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. The enslaved grew black-eyed peas in their plantation gardens. By the mid-1700s, both the enslaved and slaveholders were eating black-eyed peas on a regular basis. Thomas Jefferson grew them in his Monticello garden.

A Lucky Tradition Spreads.

No one knows for sure exactly when this happened, but the various ingredients blended to create a new New Year’s Day tradition in Southern kitchens. Perhaps enslaved African American cooks in plantation kitchens came up with the idea of substituting the dark “eyes” of the black-eyed peas for the first footer visitor after hearing about the tradition. European slaveholders, including those of English and Irish heritage, may have had the same idea after noticing how the enslaved held field peas in high esteem. Another possibility is that Sephardic Jews who came to the South, especially those with a connection to Syria, inspired others to copy their custom of eating black-eyed peas for good luck on Rosh Hashanah, their New Year’s Day. In any case, a new and enduring tradition was born.

This African-American dish is traditionally a high point of New Year’s Day when a shiny dime is often buried among the black-eyed peas. Whoever gets the coin in his or her portion is assured good luck throughout the year. For maximum good luck in the new year, the first thing that should be eaten on New Year’s Day is Hoppin’ John. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, many southern families toast each other with Champagne and a bowl of Hoppin’ John. If it is served with collard greens you might, or might not get rich during the coming year.
If you eat leftover Hoppin’ John the day after New Year’s Day, then the name changes to Skippin’ Jenny since one is demonstrating their determination of frugality. Eating a bowl of Skippin’ Jenny is believed to even better your chances for a prosperous New Year!
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried black eye peas
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 smoked shanks
  • 3 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tbsp chicken base
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp creole seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 green onions
 
Instructions
    1. Check and clean the peas. Soak the black eye peas the night before you are going to cook these black eye peas.
    2. Slice and dice the vegetables.
    3. In the Dutch oven add the olive oil, add the chopped vegetables, except the green onion. Cook till translucent.
    4. Add the chicken stock, seasonings and the chicken base. Give it a good stir, then add the black eye peas and the smoked shanks. Cook on medium high for 45 minutes.Check if they are about done, and if there’s enough liquid left in the pot. If there is not enough liquid left add some more chicken stock. Mine were about done and there was enough liquid left in the pot. Put on simmer for 30 minutes. Take out the shanks, take the meat of the bones and add the meat to the beans. As you can see all the bone marrow has been cooked out of the bones. Bone marrow is healthy :). Discard the bones. In those 30 minutes you can cook your rice, air fry the chicken wings and make your cornbread. Top the beans off with sliced green onions.*Below is my Recipe Card. Right Click on the picture below, save to your hard drive and print as a 4×6 pic*

 

 
 
Hoppin' John
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This African-American dish is traditionally a high point of New Year’s Day when a shiny dime is often buried among the black-eyed peas. Whoever gets the coin in his or her portion is assured good luck throughout the year. For maximum good luck in the new year, the first thing that should be eaten on New Year’s Day is Hoppin’ John. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, many southern families toast each other with Champagne and a bowl of Hoppin’ John. If it is served with collard greens you might, or might not get rich during the coming year. If you eat leftover Hoppin’ John the day after New Year’s Day, then the name changes to Skippin’ Jenny since one is demonstrating their determination of frugality. Eating a bowl of Skippin’ Jenny is believed to even better your chances for a prosperous New Year!
Author:
Recipe type: Soulfood
Cuisine: African
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried black eye peas
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 smoked shanks
  • 3 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tbsp chicken base
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp creole seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 green onions
Instructions
  1. Check and clean the peas. Soak the black eye peas the night before you are going to cook these black eye peas.
  2. Slice and dice the vegetables
  3. In the Dutch oven add the olive oil, add the chopped vegetables, except the green onions. Cook till translucent.
  4. Add the chicken stock, seasonings and the chicken base. Give it a good stir, then add the black eye peas and the smoked shanks. Cook on medium high for 45 minutes.Check if they are about done, and if there's enough liquid left in the pot. If there is not enough liquid left, add some more chicken stock. Mine were about done and there was enough liquid left in the pot. Put on simmer for 30 minutes. Take out the shanks, take the meat of the bones and add the meat to the beans. As you can see all the bone marrow has been cooked out of the bones. Bone marrow is healthy :). Discard the bones. In those 30 minutes you can cook your rice, air fry the chicken wings and make your cornbread. Top the beans with the sliced green onions.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a review below. Or snap a photo and share it on Instagram; be sure to tag me @kinfolkrecipes.



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