Hoppin’ John is a Southern dish traditionally served on New Year’s Day. Hoppin’ John is 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!
Hoppin’ John Served Over Cornmeal Pancakes
- 8 stalks of deveined rainbow chard approximately 12 ounces
- 8 ounces bacon
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 2 15 ounce cans black-eyed peas drained and rinsed
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 corn meal pancakes You can can use my blue cornmeal pancake recipe, but just use regular yellow cornmeal and don't add the orange extract.
- 4 green onions finely chopped
- An hour before you plan to cook, soak the chard leaves in cold water. Soaking removes dirt and some of the bitterness. After soaking for fifteen minutes, dump the water and replace with fresh water. Repeat three more times.
- Dry thoroughly in a salad spinner or using towels.
- Cut the chard into strips and set aside.
- In a large skillet on medium heat, saute the bacon.
- When the bacon is browned but not burnt, add in the garlic, onion, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir periodically.
- When the onion is translucent, add in the greens, black-eyed peas, chicken broth, water, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
- Once the mixture is boiling, reduce heat and simmer for an hour or until liquid reduces by half. Stir periodically.
- Remove bay leaves and discard.
- Serve over pancakes and sprinkle with green onions.