Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hoppin' John Soup

Eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck.  The beans symbolize coins or pennies and the greens symbolize the color of money and are said to add to one's wealth in the New Year.

Traditional Hoppin' John is a singular concoction of peas (cow or black-eyed), greens, and rice simmered in a pork base. 

When thinking of how to prepare this dish, I stumbled upon a recipe for a soup version and I  decided to give it a try.  I served it up along with some homemade, fresh from the oven, cornbread.  If you like traditional Hoppin' John you will LOVE this recipe... 

Prep Time:  1/2 Hour
Cook Time:  2 Hours
Servings:  8


1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large jalapeno pepper, finely chopped with seeds removed
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
10 cups liquid (chicken broth, water, or a combination)
2 large ham hocks
1 pound collard greens, thinly sliced (5 to 6 cups)
1 cup finely diced ham, from ham bone or a ham steak
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 cups cooked long-grain white rice
11/2 cups chopped tomatoes (or 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with habaneros)
Additional vinegar for passing  
Photo: Mary Ann Rice
  • Soak the beans overnight in cold water to cover.  Drain in colander.
  • In a large saucepan or soup pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook over medium heat until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, jalapeno, thyme, pepper flakes and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the beans, liquid and ham hocks and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until beans are verging on tender, about 1 hour.
  • Add the collards and continue to cook, covered, until beans and collards are very tender, 50 to 60 minutes. 
  • Stir in the ham, season with salt and pepper, and adjust amount of liquid if necessary. Stir in vinegar.
  • Spoon rice into bowls, ladle soup over, and serve. Pass bowl of chopped tomatoes and a cruet of vinegar and a bottle of hot sauce at the table.
Leave three peas on your plate to ensure a New Year filled with Luck, Fortune, and Romance
Recipe Links:

This recipe is the "original" and was first published in Saveur in Issue #125.
Here is an adaption by Brooke Dojny - which was my inspiration.
Here is a link to quite possibly the World's Perfect Cornbread.


  1. Great recipe.I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this hoppin john soup widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about hoppin john soup recipes,Thanks!

  2. Alisa,
    I went ahead and posted this specific recipe to Foodista and embedded a widget as suggested. Go ahead and add me to your list.
    Give my best to Barnaby!

  3. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

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  4. Well someone better make me some Hoppin' John Soup, I need all the help I can get already this year!!! :)

  5. How do you keep the beans from getting mushy? I've tried cooking with black-eyed peas before, about 3 times, and they've turned into mush very quickly on me each time. Your soup looks delicious.

  6. I've heard that the trick to cooking beans is to do it gently.
    I usually opt to hydrate them in cold water overnight instead of using the quick soak boiling method.
    Also, when the recipe calls for "bringing to a boil", I will quickly reduce the heat once that happens, and lower to just a simmer. Too much heat or movement in the pot will explode the beans.
    If using canned beans, add them at the end - maybe 15 minutes before serving.

  7. Super, thanks! I usually bring beans to a boil in a pot, pop on a lid, and turn it off to soak overnight, then replace the water and bring to a boil for an hour. Blackeyed beans have never held up to that, so now I know why!


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