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  • Writer's pictureLiisa Lee

Hoppin' John for New Year's Day

Rice for riches, peas for peace. So the saying goes for this traditional New Year's Day dish. The first time this American by way of African/French/Caribbean dish first appeared in print in 1847, among the recipes in The Carolina Housewife.

I've lightened this up a bit, using smoked turkey, instead of bacon or ham hocks.

Back in New Orleans, we'd ring in the new year with a midnight champagne breakfast, (one of my favorite things), and in the morning, greens, rice, and Hoppin' John. Festive, yet cozy.

Peas symbolize coins, greens for money, corn bread for gold, rice for riches, and if you add tomatoes, that's for health.

Want even more good luck? Eat more the day after New Year's Day and it becomes Skipping Jenny!

Let's make some.

Cook Time: 2 hours Serves: 4/6


1 turn olive oil (2 tbsp)

2 smoked turkey wings - or 4 butts (we call 'em pope's noses)

1 large onion - small dice

1 red bell pepper - small dice

4 stalks celery - small dice

2 garlic cloves - minced or garlic pressed

1 package black eyed peas - prepared - 10-12 ounces

(If they're fresh or dried, prepare them before hand per the directions on the package. If they're frozen or canned, just add them in)

1 tbsp poultry seasoning (or thyme)

1 bay leaf

4 cups chicken stock

1 tsp black pepper

salt or Dr. Bragg to taste

3 cups cooked white rice (I like jasmine, basmati or if you wanna get seriously NOLA, popcorn rice. You heard me. Do iiiit.)

Scallion chopped for topping


  • In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat oil and brown smoked turkey on all sides for flavor and rendering out that wonderful smokey fat

  • remove when browned on all sides and transfer to a bowl for later

  • add onion, celery and bell pepper, cook until just starting to brown on the edges of the onions

  • add garlic and cook for a minute or two to show that garlic the love

  • add black-eyed peas, seasoning, bay leaf, pepper, stock and return turkey to the pot

  • bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-1/2 hours

  • pull turkey meat and add it back to pot

  • adjust seasoning to taste

  • serve over cooked rice and garnish with chopped scallions

(optional: serve with corn bread to sop up that good pot liquor)

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