Hoppin’ John is a Southern dish traditionally served on New Year’s Day. It’s made with black-eyed peas, onions, and bacon (sometimes ham or sausage) and typically served over rice with a side of greens and corn bread. The black-eyed peas in Hoppin’ John are supposed to make us think of coins (I’ve never seen a coin that looks remotely like a black-eyed pea, but I’ll go with it), and are supposed to bring a prosperous new year. The greens are said to add wealth, since they are the color of money (that makes sense) and the cornbread continues the theme appropriately by being the color of gold.
Today, I’m sharing a modern twist on Hoppin’ John – a recipe created by my husband, Jonathan. To answer the question that must be asked – he did not hop while preparing the dish, nor does he do much hopping in his daily life. He decided to mix the greens (he used rainbow chard) in with the black-eyed peas and, instead of serving the beans over rice, he served them over cornmeal pancakes. I love the idea of integrating pancakes into Hoppin’ John! After staying up so late on New Year’s Eve, you are probably still wanting breakfast at lunch time (not a bowl of black-eyed peas). With this preparation of Hoppin’ John, you can keep the traditional black-eyed peas and still have your breakfast pancakes.
Hoppin’ John can sometimes be spicy. But, Jonathan chose to tone down the spiciness to make the dish more kid-friendly. Our three year old loved it; although to no one’s surprise, he left some of the greens and beans behind and ate every last crumb of pancake.
If you are looking for a new New Year’s Eve tradition, this Hoppin’ John recipe is a great place to start. But, be sure to come back to this blog soon to see how I’ve transformed Hoppin’ John into a cupcake. Yes, the cupcake contains beans!