Homemade Hoppin’ John

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Every New Year’s Eve I think I’m going to make Hoppin’ John, and then I forget because I’m too busy making Roast Pork, Mashed Potatoes, and Sauerkraut, which is the Pennsylvania Dutch version of Hoppin’ John—meaning the good-luck meal you want to eat on New Year’s Day.

Well, this year I made both. But I’m going to let you in on a secret: Since I tasted my Hoppin’ John at every step, I kind of wish I would have stopped after the first step— black-eyed peas and snaps cooked in smoked turkey broth with some salt…now, THAT was delicious. And next New Year’s Day—and other days in between—that’s where I’ll stop cooking. But I’ll give you the whole recipe this time, since that’s only fair.

A funny note is that I needed a green pepper to make the official recipe. I went to my closest market, and it only had chemical green peppers. I picked one up. I put it down. I walked away. I went back and stared at it for a while. I looked for alternatives. But ultimately, I walked back and bought it “for the sake of the recipe.” I will never do that again!  It wasn’t worth it. Both for the moral issue and the taste.

Homemade Hoppin’ John


  • 1 smoked turkey wing or ham hock
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups black-eyed peas or field peas with snaps
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 green pepper (ORGANIC!)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 ribs celery
  • Chopped parsley
  • Dash of thyme (fresh is always better)
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • Salt


  1. Put the smoked turkey wing or ham hock into the water and boil into a broth—this will take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Then add the black-eyed peas (canned or frozen, which I prefer, but if you have to use dried, follow those instructions before you add them here). Boil for another half hour to an hour and add about a tablespoon of salt. THIS is the moment it tastes best, if you ask me! You can stop right here and be happy! OR…
  2. In another pan, fry up the green pepper, onion, garlic, celery, parsley, and thyme in butter. Then add the beans and broth (strain out the bones and meat and add the meat back in). Add 2 tablespoons vinegar—essential to it tasting good, if you ask me.
  3. You can also garnish with pepperoncini, chopped scallions, and of course, hot sauce! Serve with rice.

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4 Responses to Homemade Hoppin’ John

  1. Donna in Delaware January 15, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    Depending on what part of the south you are from, it is better to eat this without the green peppers. Instead, eat it with stewed tomatoes. Nice buttery, a tiny bit sweet, with basil and bits of stale bread added for thickening the tomatoes in its juice. Yum! That’s how we ate them growing up in Virginia. Black eyed peas and smoked turkey wings or smoked turkey necks on the top of stewed tomatoes for good luck on New Year’s Day. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t eaten any in many, many years, but I still remember how good they were when my grandmother made them, and now, my mother makes this dish every year.

  2. Donna in Delaware January 15, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    By the way, my grandmother cooked the black-eyed peas with deeply smoked ham hocks, which you can find in the south without a problem. They are more expensive now, and much smaller in size than they were before.

  3. Donna in Delaware January 15, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    I forgot to add: Cook them in the pressure cooker! If using dried peas, soak them overnight in boiled water. They will be ready to cook the next day and in much less time. DON’T FORGET TO PICK THROUGH THEM TO TAKE OUT BAD PEAS AND SMALL STONES BEFORE SOAKING! The rest will float to the top when you soak them, and then you can throw out the water with the bits floating on top, before cooking.

  4. Margaret Hews January 22, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    I’m sorry but I don’t know what you mean by field peas with snaps. Snaps?

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