I am a superstitious person. Often times the superstitions that I adhere to are things that just make good sense. I don’t hold open umbrellas over my head indoors, I don’t walk under ladders and I like to eat Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day.
Eating Hoppin’ John is a southern tradition that is believed to bring a year filled with luck and prosperity. The peas in the dish symbolize pennies or coins and including greens in the meal represents money. Who wouldn’t want to add a little good fortune to a new year when you only have to eat a delicious meal?
This year I tried to follow a real recipe but our paths diverged very early on. For the original recipe that gave me my baseline, visit Cooking Light.
My New Year’s Day Vegetarian Hoppin’ John Recipe!
1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas
1 small onion, diced
3-4 cloves of minced garlic
4-5 cups hot water
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 chopped green bell pepper
1 seeded & minced jalapeño pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce (plus additional for serving)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 vegetable-flavored bouillon cube
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with pepper, celery, and onion, undrained
1-1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 bag of frozen chopped collard greens
1 bunch of green onions, sliced for garnish
1. Rinse and pick over peas, soak in water overnight.
2. Place peas, onion, peppers, hot sauce, salt, pepper and bouillon, and 4 cups of hot water in crockpot. Stir well to combine, cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours. Check periodically and add hot water if necessary. * If you don’t have a slow cooker, this can be made on the stovetop instead.
3. When peas are tender, add tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, brown rice, and collard greens. Cook on high for an additional hour or until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Top with green onions, serve with additional hot sauce.
This makes a large batch of Hoppin’ John to ensure that you have plenty of leftovers for the day after New Year’s. If Wikipedia’s sources on Hoppin’ John can be trusted, the leftovers are called “Skippin’ Jenny” and eating them brings even better chances for prosperity in the new year to come.