I grew up in the “South,” by which I mean Florida. It wasn’t until I married Garth, who somehow grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, that I learned of this tradition of eating Hoppin’ John over rice on New Years’ Day to bring you luck in the coming year. Basically, black-eyed peas are meant to represent coins, collard greens are meant to represent money (which is somehow different to coins?), tomatoes are meant to represent health. Seems pretty much like a voodoo wish to win the lottery if you ask me, but I love this tradition anyway. (If you want to geek out about it, here’s a pretty intense article from the History Channel.) This version skips the pork for an all-vegetarian rendition on the stew… which, to me, seems like the best way to start a healthy new year.
- Over rice with a dash of Tabasco or pepper sauce, as is traditional. My in-laws would approve.
- If you eat it (I don’t), cook up a few slices of bacon until crisp, crumble and set them aside, then add the stew to the pan to reheat. (This would make it closer to the “classic” profile, even though I honestly don’t miss it.) Serve portions topped with bacon crumbles.
Show me how you cook and serve it by emailing me your photo! Submissions are automatically entered to win a drawing for a Soup Club cookbook.
Yes, all this fun and love went into the recipe. That’s why it tastes so good.