Sunday, December 30, 2012

Weekend Cooking 12/30

Each weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!

I haven't had time for a cooking post the past two weeks with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but I thought today would be perfect for a post on the southern custom of eating black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year's Day.

Now, I grew up in the northeast (Rochester, NY), and we didn't eat anything special on New Year's Day. In fact, every year, we went to a party at a friend's house on January 1. When I married a guy from Oklahoma, I discovered that southerners have a tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day - it's supposed to bring good luck for the new year. I had never eaten a black-eyed pea in my life up to that point, but I was up for joining in this food-based tradition!

Over the years, it has become tradition in our family for me to make Hoppin' John, a dish of black-eyed peas and rice, each year for New Year's Day.  All of us - including our two teen boys - love this meal! We are usually visiting my father-in-law in Oklahoma at this time of year, so I make it for him, too. Sometimes, as is the case this year, we will be back home by January 1, so I plan to make Hoppin' John tonight so that my father-in-law can have good luck left-overs on New Year's Day. We will just make do with getting our good luck a bit early.

My recipe for Hoppin' John is listed below. Do you have any food traditions for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day?
Hoppin’ John
(Black-eyed Peas & Rice)

1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
6 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 tsp. oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. thyme
ground pepper, salt, and Tobasco to taste
1 cup cooked ham, diced

Wash black-eyed peas and add to Dutch Oven with water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 35 minutes.

Heat oil in skillet and sauté onion, green pepper, and garlic until soft.  Remove from heat and add to cooked peas and remaining liquid.

Add rice and seasonings.  Cover and simmer on medium-low for an additional 15 minutes.  Add ham and cook an additional 10 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

Remove bay leaf and serve with Tobasco.

Serves 6.


  1. I've been told that black-eyed peas are a must for NYD. It is said (at least here in the South) that luck will come your way if you eat them on NYD. Not sure that message has been properly spread up North!

  2. I've never had Hoppin' John, but I know how popular it is. I'll have to try it one of these New Year's. (And I grew up in Auburn, about 30 miles from Rochester.)

  3. Diane -

    Yes, Auburn was just down the road ;) No wonder you've never had Hoppin' John before - it's very much a southern dish. After I graduated from Clarkson (waaaay up north, 3 hours past Syracuse!), I moved to New Orleans for my first job - it was another world!

    I now love the taste of black-eyed peas.


  4. Happy New Year-thank you for sharing this tradition.

  5. One of my best friends in college was from south Georgia. She's the one who introduced me to Hoppin John. Yummmm. We always have bacon and eggs for breakfast on Jan. 1 -- pork is supposed to be good luck, too.

  6. I love that you posted about this custom of eating black-eyed peas for good luck on NYD. I wish I had seen this recipe before I made my plans; we are having our own variation, with sausage. I was going to say I will try this one next year, but I am sure we will try it sooner than that.

  7. Yes, no need to wait a whole year, Tracy! This is a favorite at our house all year round :)


  8. I've heard of Hoppin' John, but didn't know what it was. Thanks for shedding light on the tradition as well as sharing your recipe!