Lucky New Year's Meal
Hoppin' John Soup
Recipe: Hoppin' John Soup
New Year's Day below the Mason-Dixon just wouldn't be complete without Hoppin' John Soup on the stove! The smoky flavor in this hearty dish make it a Southern staple, and it pairs perfectly with several popular soul foods. The blend of black-eyed peas and rice is said to bring good fortune in the New Year to those who eat it. While the history of Hoppin' John Soup is still somewhat unclear, many people believe the peas are meant to symbolize coins. And, as they swell when cooked, the peas represent growing fortune. This timeless soup is often served with cornbread and collared greens; both of these Southern cuisines signify different forms of wealth. Needless to say, a New Year's Day meal planned around the delectable Hoppin' John Soup may result in some extra cash, and who wouldn't welcome a little more spending money (especially after the holidays)?
To begin, simply bring the peas, turkey wings, and 6 cups of water to a boil; cover the ingredients, and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the mixture for about 45 minutes or until the peas are tender. Be sure to skim any foam from the surface. Next, drain the peas while reserving 1¼ cups of the liquid. Remove the turkey meat from the bones, and chop it up.
Packed with mouthwatering ingredients like smoked turkey, country ham, red pepper, and sweet onion, this nourishing soup is sure to warm you from the inside out. It's the ideal choice for a holiday meal because it feeds a large crowd, and the Hoppin' John Soup is ridiculously easy to make. With only 30 minutes of hands-on preparation, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy all the festive celebrations that come with the holidays. This savory soup is going to be your family's fast favorite – guaranteed!
Hoppin' John Noodle Bowls
Recipe: Hoppin' John Noodle Bowls
Serve straight from the stove, and let guests garnish their own bowls.
Recipe: Skillet Cornbread
Recipe: Ben Mims' Perfect Cornbread
Cornbread, which some say symbolizes gold, completes the Southern New Year's triad. Native Americans were the first to bake a cornmeal mixture, and Southerners made it daily when wheat was a rarity in the region. For authentic Southern flavor, choose a recipe that uses little, if any, sugar and flour. Don't forget the cracklings, crispy morsels produced during the rendering of lard.
Southern-Style Collard Greens
Recipe: Southern-Style Collard Greens
Slow-cooking collards with pork makes them mouthwatering and tender. Their soul-warming taste can be perfected only with the addition of vinegar.
Be sure to save a few uncooked greens to tack to the ceiling for good luck or hang over the door to ward off evil spirits.
Recipe: Hoppin' John
Hoppin' John pairs black-eyed peas with rice. The rice and beans are cooked slowly with bacon, fatback, or ham hock along with onion and salt. "Skippin' Jenny," as the leftovers are known the day after New Year's, shows one's frugality; eating it increases your chances of prosperity.
Quick Collard Greens
Recipe: Sautéed Greens
Don't be afraid to try a fresher, quicker recipe for this Southern dietary staple. Sautéed Collard Greens are packed with flavor from chopped ginger and spicy serrano peppers. Plus, they're better for you and cook in just 26 minutes.
Freshened-Up Black-eyed Peas
Recipe: Lucky Black-eyed Pea Salad
This dish offers an updated take on black-eyed peas while still delivering the good luck of the traditional dish. Peppery watercress fills in for traditional greens, and Chilean peaches add fresh flair.
Test Kitchen Tip: Frozen black-eyed peas deliver the taste and texture of fresh—they hold their shape and absorb less dressing than softer canned and dried peas. When using in salads, trim the recommended cook time by 5 or 10 minutes and simmer only until al dente.
Recipe: Pot Likker Soup
Pot likker, the juice left in a pot after collards cook, is traditionally valued as a delicacy and aphrodisiac. Be sure to sop up the vitamin-rich pot likker with your cornbread or make it into this warm and comforting soup.
Black-eyed Peas for Munching
Recipe: Chili-Roasted Black Eyed Peas
With the flavor-packed coating on these treats, you'll easily be able to eat 365; some traditions hold that you must eat one for each day of the coming year. Roasting the peas gives them a crispy texture that's perfect for snacking or serving as an appetizer on New Year's Day.
Good Luck Greens and Peas with Ham
Greens and Black-eyed Peas
Recipe: How to Cook Black Eyed Peas
Recipe: Southern-Style Collard Greens
These two Southern classics all but guarantee a prosperous year. Some say the greens represent dollar bills and the black-eyed peas, coins, ensuring wealth and luck.
According to folklore, this auspicious New Year's Day tradition dates back to the Civil War, when Union troops pillaged the land, leaving behind only black-eyed peas and greens as animal fodder. Rich in nutrients, these were the humble foods that enabled Southerners to survive. Details of stories differ, but each celebrates a communion of family and friends bound by grateful hearts and renewed hope for good things yet to come.