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hoppin’ john

Posted Dec 28 2011 5:59am

My mom made hoppin’ john every.single.year that I lived at home.

It’s a simple dish really—just black eyed peas mixed with rice, tomatoes and green onions and then topped with a spicy, tangy sauce made of mayonnaise, chilies and sharp cheddar cheese. A million variations exist of this dish, but mom kept it simple. And man, is it ever delicious.

Hoppin’ John is a Southern dish traditionally made and eaten on New Years to ensure good luck in the year ahead. And for years, I was SURE that if I didn’t eat all my hoppin’ john it would result in an unlucky year.

What am I saying? I still think that.

Many versions of this dish include bacon or ham, but I think simple is best here. Save your ham hocks for split pea soup and instead, soak your dry peas the day before and make this yummy meal early on New Years morning (or, let’s be honest, whenever you wake up from partying the night before). You can use any extra peas to make this later. You won’t regret it.

Use a serrano pepper in this dish. I promise it won’t be crazy spicy (unless you add the seeds, that is). Be sure to wear gloves and/or wash your hands immediately after chopping though! It would be such a backfire to get pepper in your eye on New Years. I know from experience!

The whole thing is covered in a delicious blanket of sharp cheddar cheese. The more the merrier! And leftovers are even better the next day! If you’ve never tried hoppin’ john before, I urge you to try it this year! I think you’ll love it.

Hoppin’ John

serves 4-6


1 cup dry black eyed peas

1/2 cup brown rice (dry)

3 plum tomatoes, chopped

6 green onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

grated cheddar cheese for serving

for tomato hot pepper relish—

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped (be careful, wash your hands and don’t touch your face while handling this hot pepper!)

pinch of salt


Soak the black eyed peas overnight in water. In the morning, drain the water, add fresh water (about two inches above peas) and bring to a boil. Cover pot (leaving an inch open) and simmer for about one hour, until peas are tender. Drain and set peas aside.

Cook the rice in 1 1/2 cups water. When done, fluff with a fork and combine with the peas in a large bowl.

Top the peas and rice with the sliced green onions and chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the relish, combine all ingredients. It shouldn’t be runny so you might need to add a little more or a little less mayonnaise to produce desired thick sauce consistency.

Serve hoppin’ john in bowls topped with relish and freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese. YUM!!


1 hour (doesn’t include time to soak and cook the peas—I always make this dish the day before I plan to serve it!)




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