Hoppin’ John Recipe

While I wasn’t born in the south (a fact that NobakEleni keeps pointing out), my family is from there and a lot of dishes I know come from there. (and I’m southern by heart!)

Hoppin’ John is a traditional good luck southern dish, eaten on New Years Day. The thought is that pork and black eye peas both bring good luck, so eating this dish on New Years Day will bring you luck in the New Year. Some go as far as eating 365 black eyed peas on New Years Day, one for each day of the year!

Hoppin’ John Recipe

  • 2.5 lbs pork neck bone or hamhock
  • 3 onions
  • 2 cups black eyed peas
  • 2 cups rice
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 6-8 cups of water


In a large, thick bottom pot add your olive oil over medium high heat. Once it comes to a shimmer, add all the meat to your pan, making sure all pieces are touching the bottom. If you need, do this in batches. You want to cook until just browned and then turn over and brown on the other side as well. When done, set to the side.

Dice your peppers and onions and mince your garlic. Bring remaining oil in pan back up to shimmer and add onion and salt and cook for 3 minutes.  Be sure to stir and use the liquid from the onions to get the tasty bits off the bottom of the pot. Then add the peppers for about two minutes and finally the garlic for 1. Now add two cups of water, cayenne, thyme and bay leaves and set the heat on high. Once it comes to a boil, add the meat back, the black eyed peas and just enough water to cover. Bring this to a boil and then lower heat to medium low and let simmer for and hour to and hour and half.

The way I check for doneness is to use tongs and grab a piece of the bone. If it comes out cleanly, then you’re set. The beans should be done, but not mushy and the meat…fall off the bone. Reserve 1 1/4 cup of the liquid and drain the rest off in a colander. Next separate your neck bones from the veggies and beans and pour the veggies/beans back into the pot. In a separate pot prepare your rice according to the box, swapping in 3/4 cup of reserved liquid.

This is where things will get a little messy…but fun. Using your hands or a paring knife, pull/scrape all the meat you can from the bones. This may take a while, but get as much meat off as you can. Once done, toss your bones out and add the meat and the remaining liquid back to the pot and mix gently.

When your rice is done, you’re all set. Spoon some rice into the bowl and then scoop a ladle of the Hoppin’ John over top. It’s an earthy, down home meal that will fill you and bring you a Happy New Year!