Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year.  Rice for riches and peas for peace. – Southern saying on eating a dish of Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day.

Black-Eyed Peas Hoppin’ John is found in most states of the South, but it is mainly associated with the Carolinas. Gullah or Low Country cuisine reflects the cooking of the Carolinas, especially the Sea islands (a cluster of islands stretching along the coats of south Carolina and northern Georgia). Black-eyed peas, also called cow peas, are thought to have been introduced to America by African slaves who worked the rice plantations. Hoppin’ John is a rich bean dish made of black-eyed peas simmered with spicy sausages, ham hocks, or fat pork, rice, and tomato sauce.

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 before serving. whoever get 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.

There are many variations to traditional Hoppin’ John. Some cook the peas and rice in one pot, while others insist on simmering them separately.

The first written recipe for Hoppin John appeared in The Carolina Housewife in 1847.

Most food historians generally agree that Hoppin John is an American dish with African/French/Caribbean roots. There are many tales or legends that explain how Hoppin’ John got its name:

It was the custom for children to gather in the dining room as the dish was brought forth and hop around the table before sitting down to eat.

A man named John came “a-hoppin” when his wife took the dish from the stove.

An obscure South Carolina custom was inviting a guest to eat by saying, “Hop in, John”

The dish goes back at least as far as 1841, when, according to tradition, it was hawked in the streets of Charleston, South Carolina by a crippled black man who was know as Hoppin’ John.

Source: Linda Stradley


  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oil, bacon drippings or 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth  (or 2 1/2 cups)
  • 16 ounces black eyed peas   (fresh or frozen, thawed)
  • 1/2 lb cooked ham, cubed (or ham hock, or streaky meat- all more traditional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry crushed red peeper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cups cooked long grained rice


(Source)  Read more:

  • 1
    Saute the first three ingredients in a large Dutch oven in hot oil, bacon drippings, or butter until tender.
  • 2
    Add water and next five ingredients.
  • 3
    Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until peas are tender.
  • 4
    Remove and discard bay leaf.
  • 5
    Serve over rice.