Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hoppin' John Soup

Happy New Yearrrrr!!!

Oh wait.  This is March, isn't it.  Whoops.  Well, count me belated in my New Year's wishes and count me belated in posting this recipe.  You'll forgive me, right?  Please?  Can I buy your forgiveness with a toasty warm batch of Best Friend Makers?

So, the tradition behind this soup is that black-eyed peas are considered good luck if you eat them first thing on New Year's Day.  The peas are a symbol of coins; the collards represent the green of money; the pork represents having plenty; and the cornbread's color represents gold.  It's pretty much a lottery ticket in a bowl, am I right?  There are more interesting tidbits about the history here and here.

Hoppin' John soup is very, very new to me.  I grew up in the Pacific Northwest (insert dreamy sigh here), so I'd never seen a collard green in real life until I moved to Georgia last year.  Also, if I'm being completely honest - Southern cooking isn't known for being healthy, so I'm sometimes hesitant to try the ingredients and dishes that are traditional here.  But, I kept seeing recipes for Hoppin John this and Hoppin John that for New Year's, and they actually seemed fairly healthy, so I thought I'd give it a try.

And boy!  Am I ever glad I gave it a try.  We love, love, love this soup.  Seriously, we love it.  It's basically one big pot of cozy, which is perfection on a blustery day.  Bo is over the moon when I start cooking it, and then pretty much dies on the spot when I start baking cornbread to go with it.  (Did I mention that he's from the South?)  If you can get your hands on some kind of green (collards, kale, mustard greens, etc), I highly recommend trying this recipe out.  I've read that you can substitute white beans for the black-eyed peas, but don't come crying to me if you don't get rich, ok?


Hoppin' John Soup
recipe adapted from Steamy Kitchen

12 oz. quick-cook or canned black-eyed peas
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. carrots, diced
1/2 c. celery, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 c. water
1 ham bone (with meat attached)
3 c. diced ham
14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
5 handfuls torn collard leaves (tough stems removed)

Prepare black-eyed peas according to package, or drain the can.  In large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat.  Saute carrots, celery, and onion for 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute additional 2 minutes.  Add the ham bone, drained peas, and water to the pot.  Bring to a low boil and then simmer for 1 hour.

Add the diced ham and tomatoes and simmer for an additional 30 minutes {Mix up your cornbread now.}  Remove the ham bone and then stir in your collard greens and simmer for an additional 30 minutes {Put your cornbread into the oven now}.  Salt to taste.  But we didn't add a speck of salt because the ham added so much flavor and was salty enough on its own.

Ingredient Lineup.

Carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.

Add in the water and ham bone.

Add in the diced ham and tomatoes.

Remove the ham bone and add in the collards.


I wouldn't lie to ya.

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  1. It IS delicious. She is NOT lying to you. Sara made this for me when I visited her and it was easily the best soup I've ever had. Mmm. Seeing the pictures is kind of torturous because now I want a giant bowl of it!

  2. @Cal - Consider my photos an open invitation to get your booty down here to visit again. Ya hear?

  3. Happy New Year! This will start the year off right.

  4. Happy New Year! This will start the year off right.


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