Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John Recipe

The last in the “good luck eats” series is an old southern staple…Hoppin’ John. Though beans, like green, are meant to serve as a symbol of wealth (“peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold”), they just don’t really look like coins to me. Another historical perspective mentioned that the good luck association of beans is tied more to the quick germination and sustenance they provide.

Hoppin' John fixins

Hoppin’ John fixins

The source for this recipe is the Charleston City Paper again. Go here for the original writeup:


Dried black eye peas, 2 pounds soaked overnight then drained

2 quarts chicken stock or broth

Diced red and yellow bell peppers

2 ribs celery, diced

1 large onion, diced

Cooked bacon, diced

2 teaspoons pickled jalapeños

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley

2 tablespoons fresh, chopped thyme

2 bay leaves

2 ounces tomato paste

2 teaspoons chili powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black peppers


  • Cook bacon in a large pot until crisp. Add onions, peppers, celery, chili powder, garlic, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves, pickled jalapeños, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté over medium high heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add drained peas.
  • Add two quarts chicken stock/broth and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer until peas are tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook favorite rice and serve peas on top or mix rice in with peas. Top with chopped parsley.


Good luck foods – some thoughts and recipes of the day

Well, our first big meal of 2015 is in the books…and it was pretty good.

Lucky foods cooking

Lucky foods cooking

Prepared today:

Hoppin’ John – southern dish traditionally made of black-eyed peas or cowpeas. Black-eyed peas are considered to be lucky and saved many a hungry resident of Civil War days. Beans are considered a humble food, simple. Dry beans, looking like coins and expanding with cooking, also are considered a symbol around the world of money and increasing wealth.

I found a highly rated recipe on Food Network from Emeril Lagasse, and I would concur with the ratings…


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large ham hock (I used some leftover smoked ham I found in the freezer)
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
1 quart chicken stock
Bay leaf (I used two)
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves (I had fresh and used about 6 sprigs with the leaves pulled off)
Salt, black pepper, and cayenne
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
3 cups steamed white rice

Heat oil in a large soup pot, add the ham hock and sear on all sides for 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, cook for 4 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, thyme, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the peas are creamy and tender, stir occasionally. If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock. Adjust seasonings, and garnish with green onions. Serve over rice. (I had no liquid evaporate. I used a potato masher and mashed some of the beans to make it creamier)

Next up, Sautéed Pork Tenderloin

The richness and fat of pork symbolize wealth and prosperity. The rooting and pushing forward behaviors of pigs also symbolizes progress.

I thawed some tenderloin medallions I had cut and vacuum sealed last month. I seasoned the medallions with salt, pepper, and a little garlic and onion powders. 1 tablespoon of butter was heated in a skillet and the medallions were browned (about 3-4 minutes a side) then removed/set aside, placed in the microwave to keep warm. To the skillet the following were added and mixed until heated through: 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. The sauce was poured over the medallions which were then garnished with fresh parsley.

Now for some Sautéed Collard Greens

For most, the folded, green leaves of veggies such as cabbage, kale, collards and such look like money. Greens are eaten across the world for hopes of financial well-being.

Fresh collards from the garden were cleaned, rolled then cut into ribbons. Some of the smoke ham was cubed. 1 medium onion was sliced. 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter was melted in a wok. The onions and ham were added and cooked for about a minute. The greens were added in stages and cooked to a wilt. A little salt and pepper were added to taste.

Finally, for sweet success, some Cornbread

Cakes of all kinds are served around the world on New Year’s Day and serve as symbols of sustenance, richness, and treasures. Cornbread’s golden color is a symbol of wealth (gold). For southern New Year’s cooks, an old saying sums it all up:

“Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.”

I used another Food Network recipe for honey cornbread muffins:

Honey Cornbread Muffins
Recipe courtesy of Patrick and Gina Neely


1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
Special equipment: paper muffin cups and a 12-cup muffin tin NOTE – I did not make muffins but put batter into a 9″x9″ cake pan.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Into a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the whole milk, eggs, butter, and honey. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. I added the batter to a greased 9×9 bake pan.

Place muffin paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Evenly divide the cornbread mixture into the papers. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Then add a little pat of butter and enjoy!

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/hoppin-john-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback

Welcoming in 2015!

Happy New Year!

We hope that everyone had a good time welcoming in 2015 and send you all our best wishes for a promising new year.

For some good luck…

the blackeye peas soaked overnight and are ready for making Hoppin’ John (all recipes will follow if they meet the taste tests)…

Hoppin' John fixins

Hoppin’ John fixins

The pork tenderloin is seasoned with salt and pepper (it will be pan sautéed in butter followed by a sauce of mustard, Worcestershire and lemon juice prepared with the pan juices), rice is in the cooker (for the Hoppin’ John), collards are cleaned and chopped (pan sautéed in butter with a little of the ham hock and onions), and the cornbread is ready to spend a little time in the oven…

Collards, cornbread and pork

Collards, cornbread and pork

Have any special traditions?