After what 2020 brought us, we need 2021 to be a lot better. A lot better. And to do whatever we can to make that happen, we need to kick the year off right. To do this we need to collectively come together and grab a bowl of the New Year dish that represents good luck and fortune: Hoppin’ John.
They say that if you eat Hoppin’ John, which is a black-eyed pea and rice dish, along with green cabbage and golden cornbread, it’ll bring you good luck. In case you didn’t know, black-eyed peas represented coins, the cabbage was like paper money, and the cornbread was gold bars.
The luck tradition started during the slave days when the slaves were given the time off between Christmas and New Year. The harvest season was over with and it wasn’t time for planting season. It was a time to reflect on the past year and think about what was to come. Since black-eyed peas were plentiful in the South, it became the dish that the slaves could eat plenty of and it became associated with New Years, and then later on: luck.
Just as there are different versions of why black-eyed peas are considered lucky, there are plenty of versions of how the bean and rice dish became known as Hoppin’ John. One rumor that some believe, like North Carolina State University, is that the name came from the French Creoles of Louisiana who called black-eyed peas, pigeon peas, which looks similar to black-eyed peas. The French Creole term for pigeon pea is poi’s a pigeon, which is pronounced, Pwah peeJon. For those that didn’t speak French Creole, it may have sounded like they were saying, Hoppin’ John.
Traditionally, the black-eyed peas are served over a bed of hot cooked rice cooked separately like red beans and rice are. To help us all turn the fortune around and point things in a better direction, I scoured the web – and asked some of my food blogging friends – to find the best Hoppin’ John Black-Eyed Peas recipes out there. Below you’ll find a variety of excellent recipes from the traditional stovetop variety to slow cookers to Instapots.
Your job is to find one recipe below and then pass this article on to everyone you know. And I don’t care what your friends say – we all need to be eating this to the point whereas the winter winds hit us on January 1, 2021, I want to go outside, take a whiff, and smell some Hoppin’ John simmering in the wind and filling the air.
If you have a favorite Hoppin’ John recipe, leave it in the comment section below.
Grab a bowl, and cheers to 2021!
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Keep the red beans cookin’!
Eric Olsson is the food blogger of RedBeansAndEric.com. He publishes new recipes and interviews weekly. He has developed recipes and written articles for the famous Camellia brand in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been mentioned in Louisiana Cookin‘ magazine and has had recipes featured in Taste of Home magazine – with his Creole Turkey recipe being runner up in their annual Thanksgiving recipe contest. He lives outside of Detroit, Michigan, with his wife and four children.