Many of y’all may be new here to the South, and the tradition of black-eyed peas and collard greens with cornbread on New Year’s Eve may be curious to some.

In the Southern United States, eating black-eyed peas or Hoppin’ John (a traditional soul food) on New Year’s Day is thought to bring prosperity in the new year. The peas are typically cooked with a pork product for flavoring (such as bacon, fatback, ham bones, or hog jowls) and diced onion, and served with a hot chili sauce or a pepper-flavored vinegar. The traditional meal also includes collard, turnip, or mustard greens, and ham. The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion. Cornbread, which represents gold, also often accompanies this meal.

Hoppin’ John

We’re gonna use the crock pot for this one, because it’s easy, and your house will smell wonderful.

1 pound dried black-eyed peas (soaked per instructions)
1 medium yellow onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 smoked ham hock
32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 to 1 1/2 cups long-grained white rice (instant will work)
Garnish: hot pepper sauce to taste (such as Tabasco Sauce)

Throw everything into crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours or until beans are tender. Pull the bay leaf and ham hock. Serve with Collard greens and cornbread.

Collard Greens

Ok y’all. This is a tried and true recipe. Grab yourself a large stockpot. You are need greens. Fresh works best, but the bagged in your produce department will work in a pinch.

  • 1 large bunch of collard greens.
  • 1 lb. smoked bacon
  • 48 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. molasses , or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp . apple cider vinegar
  • salt to taste

Cut bacon into smaller chunks (I find scissors work well for this) toss in bottom of pot and cook.

While bacon is cooking, get rid of any yellow leaves. Also, remove the large stem from each leaf. Then stack 4 or 5 on top of each other and cut into strips.

Drain grease from your bacon. Pour in chicken stock, molasses, and apple cider vinegar. Stir for one minute. Now slowly start adding your greens one handful at a time, stirring each time. Salt and pepper, stir, cover, simmer on low for at least an hour until your get the tenderness you are looking for.

How To Make Smoked Pepper Hot Sauce