Bring Luck into the New Year with Hoppin' John!

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Originally posted on on January 1, 2015

Growing up in the South, I usually ate some form of Hoppin' John on New Year's Day. The history of the dish is a bit murky, but it's said to have African/French/Caribbean roots, which is why there are so many variations of it.

So, what's the big deal? Black-eyed peas, collards and cornbread?

Well, the story goes that the peas represent coins, the collards represent paper money and the cornbread represents gold to bring luck and prosperity in the new year.

Plus, it's DELICIOUS. 

This year, I decided to go without a recipe and just make my own and it was the BEST Hoppin' John I've had in years! So naturally, I had to share it with you.

In lieu of cornbread, I decided to do brown rice and season it with turmeric, which is not only super anti-inflammatory, but also gives the rice a golden color. 

Hoppin' John with Golden Rice

Serves About 6

4 slices bacon, sliced into small strips (preferably uncured, sugar-free)

1 white or sweet onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced (I like red or orange)

3 ribs celery, diced

1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked for a minimum of 6 hours (or 1 can)

collard greens, torn with thick ribs removed (kale, chard, spinach or other greens are ok)

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp oregano

1 bay leaf

1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)

salt and pepper, to taste

1 quart chicken broth, divided


brown rice

1/2 tsp tumeric



For the veg: In a heavy-bottomed soup pot or dutch oven (this one's my favorite) on med/high heat, render the bacon until just browned. Add the trinity (onion, celery, bell pepper) and sweat them in the bacon grease until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the peas and 2 cups chicken broth and stir, scraping up any bacon goodness that was stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes and bay leaf and simmer for 30-50 min depending on how long you soaked your beans. Add water if it gets too thick. 10 minutes before it's done, add the torn collards and let them simmer for the last 10 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve over golden rice. Add hot sauce for even more kick!

For the golden rice:  heat a sauce pan over med/high heat and lightly toast the turmeric until fragrant. Add 2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add brown rice, stir, cover, reduce to simmer for 50 minutes. 

For a veggie/vegan version:

Use coconut aminos to taste instead of the bacon and veggie broth instead of chicken broth 

Use ghee (this is the ghee I highly recommend) or coconut oil instead of bacon grease to sweat the veggies (or olive oil if you use a lower heat)

Let me know how you like it in the comments below!