This easy Hoppin’ John recipe is the perfect way to try your hand at cooking soul food!
There are 2 reasons why I absolutely LOVE Hoppin’ John!
First, this is the perfect dish to make for a good, hearty meal that is ‘stick-to-your-ribs’ delicious!
Second, if you’re a superstitious person, eating Hoppin’ John on New Years Day is symbolic and believed to bring good fortune in the coming year.
Well, because of the two main ingredients: black eyed peas (symbolizing coins) and pork (symbolizing wealth and prosperity).
I don’t know about you, but if eating this dish will increase the chances of my family and me having a prosperous year, I’m going for it!
Check out more Good Luck Traditions for the New Year to totally tip the odds in your favor for the rest of the year!
Hoppin’ John Recipe
Some consider Hoppin’ John to be a side dish, but you can also serve this southern black-eyed peas recipe as your main, comforting meal.
Cook a side of collard greens (symbolic for green dollar bills) and some cornbread (symbolic for gold) to go with it and you’ll bring yourself even more good luck!
The History of Hoppin’ John
Did you know that this recipe is a southern tradition that originated in the Carolinas?
Check out this article by What’s Cooking America.
It is believed that Hoppin’ John originated way before the American Civil War in 1841 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Variations For Making This Dish
You can vary this Hoppin’ John recipe based on your personal preferences.
For instance, some people prefer to use bacon instead of ham hocks.
In my recipe, I use a ham hock to give it a nice hearty, seasoned taste.
Once everything cooks and is ready, I then cut up the ham hock and remove any fatty pieces.
Then, I add it back into the Hoppin’ John.
Hoppin’ John is Easy to Make
This recipe is so easy to make and is great on a cold, lazy day, like New Year’s Day.
As you can see from the pictures, all of the ingredients are super easy to find and inexpensive.
- Olive Oil
- Ham Hock
- Green Pepper
- Minced Garlic or Garlic Powder
- Black Eyed Peas or Field Peas
- Chicken Stock
- Dried Thyme or Thyme Sprigs
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Green Onion
- White Rice or Brown Rice
- Cooked Ham
Step 1: Sear Ham Hock in a Dutch Oven
First, in a Dutch oven (Amazon), sear your ham hock on all sides (2 to 3 minutes per side) in heated olive oil over medium heat to medium-high heat.
Step 2: Add Onion, Green Pepper, Celery, and Garlic
Second, add chopped onion, green pepper, and celery.
Let that cook for 4 to 5 minutes until softened and then add in the minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add Black Eyed Peas, Broth & Spices
After that, add in your black eyed peas.
Note: I use canned black eyed peas because it saves the step of cooking dry black eyed peas.
Then, pour in the chicken broth and spices and bring it all to a boil.
After that, turn down the heat enough to bring it to a simmer.
Simmer your Hoppin’ John for approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add an additional 1 to 2 cups of water or more broth if needed.
Step 4: Remove Ham Hock, Cut Into Bite Size Pieces, & Add Back to Dutch Oven
Remove ham hock and cut into bite size pieces, removing the fatty parts.
Then, add it back into your Dutch oven.
Add your cooked ham and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Step 5: Garnish with Green Onions and Serve Over Top of Rice
Add in your green onions but save a little bit (or a lot) in a bowl for people to sprinkle on top of their bowl of Hoppin’ John.
Serve on top of cooked rice.
Ingredient Substitutions and/or Additions
- Bay Leaves
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Vegetable Broth instead of Chicken Broth
- Hog Jowl
- Salt Pork
- Slab Bacon
- Leftover Ham Bone
- Hot Sauce
- Liquid Smoke
- Smoked Paprika
By all means, print out the below recipe card and save it in your recipe binder!
I guarantee after you and your family try it for the first time, it will become your New Year’s tradition!
Easy Hoppin’ John Recipe
Easy Hoppin’ John Recipe
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Ham Hock, Large
- 1 cup Yellow Onion, Chopped
- ½ cup Celery, Chopped
- ½ cup Green Pepper, Chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped OR Minced Garlic
- 1 lb Black Eyed Peas, EITHER dry, soaked overnight & rinsed OR (2) 15.5 oz cans
- 1 quart Chicken Stock, I used (2) 32 oz boxes
- 1 Bay Leaf – optional
- 1 ½ tsp Dried Thyme
- To taste Sea Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper
- As needed Water
- ¼ cup Green Onion, Chopped
- 4 cups White or Brown Rice, Cooked
- 5 thick slices Ham, Cooked, Chopped into bite size pieces
- Heat olive oil in large stock pot over medium-high heat.
- Add ham hock & sear on all sides until nicely browned; a couple of minutes per side.
- Add the chopped onion, celery, & green pepper.
- Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until softened.
- Stir in the garlic & continue to cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add black eyed peas, chicken stock, and spices.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes until the peas are creamy & tender, stirring occasionally; adding additional water or chicken stock if necessary.
- Remove ham hock and cut into bite size pieces, removing the fatty parts. Then add it back into the stock pot.
- Add cooked ham.
- Heat through for another 15 minutes.
- Stir in the green onions and serve warm over rice.
This Dish Can Be Served Year-Round
This is the perfect comfort food type dish!
BUT, why save this southern staple for just one day out of the entire year?
This tasty meal is so yummy, I’m going to keep it in my recipe circulation for us to eat more often.
Terri’s family came over right when it was ready to eat.
Naturally, I offered them a bowl.
Between the 7 of us, we polished it off except for one bowl’s worth, which I’m getting ready to go eat now for lunch!
By the way, according to folklore, eating leftover Hoppin’ John is called Skippin’ Jenny, and that’s considered to be good luck as well!
Check out some of my other comfort food recipes, like my:
Lastly, above all, have a very Happy New Year!