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Posted on Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 3:16 p.m.

Peggy Lampman's New Year's Day dinnerFeed: Hoppin' John

By Peggy Lampman


Hoppin' John

Peggy Lampman | Contributor


Happy New Year! Here’s wishing you a heaping pot of good luck, prosperity and happiness in the coming year. I hedge the prosperity odds by eating a dish of Hoppin’ John, a black-eyed pea dish typically served in the South, on New Year's Day. Earliest memory recalls my tiny fingers plucking out the peas and leaving behind the peppers-peas for pennies and greens (served on the side) for dollar bills.

In this economy, there's a run on black-eyed peas — some store in the area have sold out. I just found some at Hiller's, and the cashier told me the customer before me had just purchased nine different fruits to eat on New Year's Day — her culture's good luck charm.

If following the recipe below, make a double batch, insuring you have leftover Hoppin’ John, which is referred to as “Skippin’ Jenny” the next day. Eating leftover beans demonstrates frugality to the good-luck gods, assuring them you are sincere and deserving of prosperity.

Pull out your lucky charms and hope for the best!

Yield: Approx. 8 cups (without rice)
Soak Time (if using dried peas): 6-8 hours
Active Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour


1 pound dry black eyed peas
6 pieces raw bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 small red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, diced
1 small orange or yellow bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, diced
4 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
Hot pepper vinegar


1. Rinse dry peas, picking out and discarding cracked or yellowed peas. Soak 6-8 hours in
8 cups cold water; drain.
2. In a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan, fry bacon until crispy. Reserve fat and drain on
paper towels.
3. Transfer bacon fat to a large pot. Over medium heat, sauté onion and celery in fat 3-4
minutes, or until just tender and fragrant. Add drained, soaked peas, 6 cups of water and
bay leaf to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook, with lid slightly
ajar, until peas are almost tender, about 1 hour. Turn off heat, cover pot, and let peas sit
in cooking liquid 1-2 hours or until tender and creamy, but not overly soft and mushy.
4. Whisk together oil and 2 tablespoons of the cider vinegar. Discard bay leaf from peas
and toss peas with cider vinaigrette, peppers, scallions and reserved bacon. Season to
taste with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and pepper vinegar.

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Peggy Lampman

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

Thanks for the info DF: I was searching the shelves at the Industrial Kroger and the black-eyed peas slots were empty-freezer too. An employee was watching me and knew exactly my target-he laughed and said it was the only time of year they sell well. Happy New Year!


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:05 a.m.

Kroger ( Plymouth Road location) and Meijer( Ann Arbor-Saline Rd location) both had lots of 1 lb packs of dry black-eyed peas yesterday. Thanks for the recipe, Peggy.

Ann English

Fri, Dec 31, 2010 : 8:38 p.m.

If I do try this recipe, I'll use turkey bacon. It appears that Peggy doesn't expect the bacon fat to be discarded along with the bay leaf. I don't have any trouble finding blackeye peas at Greenback Dollar Store. Blackeye peas aren't a hot legume like black beans are. There's a legume called "whole green peas" that get soaked and simmered like other legumes are, and the context of Peggy's article helped me remember what she meant by "dried peas": blackeye, not whole green.