"Throughout the coastal South, eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, kale, cabbage etc. along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money."
"Another traditional food, cornbread, can also be served to represent wealth -- being the color of gold. On the day after New Year's Day, leftover "Hoppin' John" is called "Skippin' Jenny," and further demonstrates one's frugality, bringing a hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year."
"During the late Middle Ages, there was a tradition of eating beans on New Year's Day for good luck in parts of France and Spain. The European tradition mixed with an African food item to become a New World tradition."
"The Oxford English Dictionary's first reference to the dish is from Frederick Law Olmsted's 19th century travelogue, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States. "The greatest luxury with which they are acquainted is a stew of bacon and peas, with red pepper, which they call 'Hopping John'."
"Hoppin' John is the Southern United States' version of the rice and beans dish traditional throughout West Africa. It consists of black-eyed peas [or field peas] and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt. Some people substitute ham hock or fatback for the conventional bacon; a few use green peppers or vinegar and spices. Smaller than black-eyed peas, field peas are used in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia; black-eyed peas are the norm elsewhere."
"One tradition common in the Southern USA is that each person at the meal should leave three peas on their plate to assure that the New Year will be filled with Luck, Fortune and Romance. Another tradition holds that counting the number of peas in a serving predicts the amount of luck [or wealth] that the diner will have in the coming year."
|From Lana's Cooking Secret Recipe Club|
|Hoppin' John Recipe|
|2 Cups Water|
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Rice
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 Red or Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
|2 Stalks Celery, Chopped|
2-3 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
2 15-oz. Cans Black-eyed Peas, Rinsed and Drained
1/4 Cup Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
2 Green Onions, Chopped
1 Large Tomato, Seeded and Diced
Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the rice.
Cover, reduce heat to low and cook approximately 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent. Add the black eyed peas, stock, salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Serve the peas over a bed of rice. Garnish with chopped green onions and tomato.
Text Credits: Wikipedia
Lana's Cooking Secret Recipe Club
Image Credit: Lana's Cooking Secret Recipe Club