Skippin’ Jenny (aka Hoppin’ John, Black-eyed peas)

Hoppin John


My favorite way to serve black-eyed peas is as a Hoppin’ John which is a pot of black-eyed peas cooked with a ham hock, a few vegetables, and a touch of something spicy.  As with most traditional dishes, there are several variations of Hoppin’ John.  My version uses ham hock and smoked ham or andouille sausage. The spice comes from Tabasco and homemade pepper sauce which is basically a chile pepper infused vinegar.  The peas are served over rice and with my favorite side for anything served in a bowl – buttermilk cornbread.

Eating black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year’s Day has been a tradition in this household for a very long time. Of course this comes as no surprise having been raised in the south.  In case you didn’t know this already, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is intended to provide good luck and prosperity throughout the year.  According to Wikipedia, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day goes back to the middle ages which I found very interesting. Serving the peas with greens such as collard greens, turnip greens or kale, increases one’s potential prosperity because greens are “green” representing money.  However, I like to go for the “gold” and serve my peas with cornbread.

When Hoppin’ John is served the day after New Year’s, it’s called Skippin’ Jenny, and provides even more luck for a prosperous year.  If you are like us, you’ll have this dish on January 1 and 2 and a couple more times in winter, racking up as much luck as possible. Does it work? Who knows.  We’re obviously not going hungry, so something’s going our way.

Bowl of black-eyed peas



Hoppin John and cornbread


Kitchen Notes

The peas – Frozen peas work great, but if you have time, dried peas are best in my opinion. If using dried peas, you can either pressure cook the peas with the ham hock until “almost” done or cook the peas with the vegetables.  Either way, it will add 30 minutes to an hour to the cook time.  This New Year’s I pressure cooked the peas with the ham hock on New Year’s eve and then made the Hoppin’ John the next day. To pressure cook the peas, I soaked them in a brine of salt water for 4 hours, then pressure-cooked on medium for 8 minutes.

Canned black-eyed peas can also be used; however, because they are already cooked, they should be added during the last 10 minutes of cook time. In other words, cook the ham hock and vegetables with the seasoning for about 50 minutes, then add the canned black-eyed peas and cook another 10 minutes.

Ham Hock – If you can’t find smoked ham hock, you can substitute with a slab of lean bacon. Bacon does make the dish fattier than the ham hock does, so I don’t use it.

Smoked ham vs. andouille – Which meat I use all depends on what I have on hand. It’s hard to say if one is better than the other.  We enjoy this dish with either one.

Vegetarian or vegan version – There are a couple of ways to make Hoppin’ John vegetarian/vegan. I’ve cooked dried peas in the pressure cooker with 2 Tbsp. chipotle paste and the rest of the ingredients (vegetables and seasoning) and it turned out pretty darn good. You can also substitute the meat with a vegetarian sausage.  I’ve never tried it, but I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be good.

Leftovers- One of the things we like to do with the leftover peas and cornbread is to cut up some of the cornbread in a bowl and smother it with the black-eyed peas. Add a few dashes of pepper sauce and you have another delicious meal!

Here’s to a happy and prosperous new year!

black-eyed peas and cornbread


This Hoppin John recipe has been shared with the following blog hops:  Hearth & Soul, Gluten-Free Friday, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Made with Love Monday

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68 Responses to “Skippin’ Jenny (aka Hoppin’ John, Black-eyed peas)”

  1. Javelin Warrior February 6, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    With so many other health benefits, of course beans would also bring good luck! These sound wonderful, MJ, and I would definitely pair the Hoppin’ John w/ cornbread as I’m not a huge fan of rice. Although perhaps with the spice in the beans, the blandness of rice would work just fine… Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Zachery January 30, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Really liked what you had to say in your post, Skippin’ Jenny (aka Hoppin’ John, Black-eyed peas) | MJ's Kitchen, thanks for the good read!
    — Zachery

  3. Rita Bose January 26, 2013 at 4:55 am #

    Wow! I love black-eyed peas! Awesome recipe-Looks delicious!

  4. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) January 16, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    Jenny and John! Loving it!
    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    On the Gluten Free Fridays tab we have new badges for you to display on your blog. There are a few different choices for you. There are varying sizes as well. If you’ve had a featured recipe in the past, feel free to grab one of those badges as well! They are free for the taking; use as you wish! Thanks for supporting our GF community and spreading the word!

    Thanks for linking back to the Gluten Free Fridays post!

    See you at the link up this week!

    Cindy from

  5. Richelle January 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    I love that it’s titled “Hoppin’ Jenny”! I normally make my Hoppin’ John using field peas, but this year I forgot to buy some while we were down south visiting family, so I made it was black eye peas. I really wish I had seen this recipe first! I will definitely try out the andouille sausage– seems like a no brainer! I am excited to read through your site!

  6. Nami | Just One Cookbook January 10, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Happy New Year, MJ! Oh my gosh, I still remember you were talking about the tradition of eating Black Eye Peas from last year. It’s been a year already?? I love that you eat this with rice – it sounds and looks very comforting and inviting. I’m excited to see what you will share this year. I can’t wait! :)

  7. Laura (Got Chocolate) January 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    I absolutely LOVE beans and ham! this would be PERFECT for our chilly weather here in Seattle. :D

  8. Biren @ Roti n Rice January 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Haha MJ! You got me laughing! I really like Hoppin’ John turning into Skippin’ Jenny. I think I need to make me some Hoppin’ John next year. :) This dish reminds me of a restaurant we love in Ft Collins, Colorado called Black Eyed Pea. Of course one of their sides is black eye pea and it is delicious. The other side I love there is their fried okra. All sounds very Southern, doesn’t it?

  9. Reese@SeasonwithSpice January 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    I love the sound of Hoppin John, MJ! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe which I think could easily add to my new staple food. We just bought a ton of beans to be stored in the house!! My mom uses both black-eyed peas and pork in savory rice dumpling for special dumpling day. Learning about all the Southwestern fare from you so far, I think my mom (being a traditional Malaysian-Chinese) would do so much better with the foods in your area than the hot dishes in Minnesota when she comes visit us.

  10. Rhonda January 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    we always have Hoppin John on New Year’s and then a ton of left overs. This year I took some leftover beans and added some tomato and taco seasoning and turned them into bean tacos…hello delicious. It’s good stuff. I had no idea about the skippin Jenny part though.

  11. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles January 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Happy New Year to You MJ! I’m sorry I didn’t see this post sooner… for some reason, your email notifications have been going into my spam file so I will have to be more attentive on that front. I had no idea about the hop, skippin’ luck involved with this dish – how fun – something to look forward to next year…I will have to make note. The inclusion of ham/sausage in legume dishes really adds to the flavour and interest. It looks very pretty too – lovely lighting on your photos MJ. All the best for 2013 MJ.


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