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Serve Hoppin’ John for Good Luck on New Year’s Day

By Marie Oser, Managing Editor
December 24, 2010
File under: Entertaining, Healthy Eating, Legumes, Vegan

Photo Credit: Joseph A. Garcia

Back-eyed peas are a dietary staple in the American South and Hoppin’ John is a traditional dish made with black-eyed peas believed to bring good luck when served on New Year’s Day. According to the legend, if you serve black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, you’ll have plenty of pocket change in the New Year. If you serve “Hoppin’ John” with cooked greens you’ll also have plenty of folding money. Many southern families toast each other with Champagne and a bowl of Hoppin’ John at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Black-eyed peas are cream colored beans that have a slightly smoky flavor, smooth texture and a distinct black dot. Food historians agree that “Hoppin’ John” is an American dish with African/French/Caribbean origins. African slaves, who worked the rice plantations, brought black-eyed peas to the U.S. and by the 1700′s they were growing extensively in the south.

Where did this dish get its strange name? One theory is that “Hoppin’ John” was a corruption of the French ‘pois à pigeon,’ (pigeon peas) when the dish was created in the French colonies of the Caribbean. John Mariani suggests, in The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, “it derives from an old ritual on New Year’s Day in which children in the house hopped once around the table before eating the dish.”

Traditional recipes for Hoppin’ John are loaded with smoked pork products, such as ham or sausage. This heart-healthy version is made with a tasty plant-based ingredient, Yves Veggie Canadian Bacon, a  low fat, meatless alternative with authentic flavor and texture.

This delicious dish is a nutritional powerhouse that is rich in protein and fiber and very low in fat and calories. Very tasty and true to the simplicity of the original, it is the easy, convenient ingredients that make this delicious dish quick to the table and one you will want to make often.

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV, Follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter

Enlightened Hoppin’ John
from The Enlightened Kitchen, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., © Marie Oser
6 servings

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 serrano chilies, seeded and minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced baby carrots
1 (6 ounce package) Veggie Canadian Bacon, diced
1 (15 ounce can) black eyed peas
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 (14 1/2 ounce can) Mexican stewed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme

(For dry beans: Sort, rinse and cover 1 cup beans with at least 3 inches of water and soak overnight. Discard soaking water and cook beans for 40 minutes in a quart of water.)

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add chilies, garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery, and carrots. Saute` vegetables for 5 minutes. Add veggie bacon. Cook mixture 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add black-eyed peas and rice, stirring to mix thoroughly. Add tomatoes and seasonings. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Enlightened Hoppin’ John
Nutrition Analysis: per serving: 1 1/2 cups
Protein 13 g., Carbohydrate 38 g.,Fiber: 6g., Fat: 2 g., Sat. Fat 0g Cholesterol 0 mg, Calcium:112 mg., Sodium: 411 mg.
Calories 222,
from protein: 23%, from Carbohydrate.: 68%, from Fat: 9%

Traditional Hoppin’ John
Nutrition Analysis: per serving: 1 1/2 cups
Protein 12g, Carbohydrate 32g, Fiber 5g, Fat 15 g, Sat. Fat 4g Cholesterol 23 mg, Calcium 109 mg, Sodium 910 mg
Calories 318
from Protein: 16%, from Carbohydrate:41%, from Fat: 44%

Comments (7) Email Link
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    December 24, 2010 1pm UTC

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  2. Erica
    December 30, 2010 3pm UTC

    Great recipe! Thanks so much. Being from the north, I had never heard of Hoppin John, or the history behind it. Can’t wait to try it!

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