Whether it's a succulent pot roast, cheesy casserole, or warming, savory stew, we love Sunday supper. It's a dinner party without the formality, where family and friends gather for easy conversation and good food – lots of it!

Hoppin' John Soup
Hoppin' John Soup; Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham
| Credit: Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

To make sure you start the New Year off on the right foot, we're highlighting a Southern favorite, hoppin' John. Many Southerners swear by this slow-simmered black-eyed pea and rice dish, believing that eating it at the beginning of the year will bring good fortune.

Hoppin' John first appeared in the mid-1800s, probably when slaves brought black-eyed peas from Africa to the Low Country region. No one really knows the origins of the name hoppin' John, but here are two of our favorite explanations. One story claims that an old man, named Hoppin' John for his hobbling gait, used to sell the dish on the streets of Charleston, S.C. Another story tells of a little-known custom where children would "hop" around the dinner table before eating a meal of beans and rice. (We think that one's a little silly.)

Today, many Southerners pair hoppin' John with collard greens and corn bread, associating the two sides with paper money and gold. Whichever story you believe about this classic comfort dish, hoppin' John makes us proud to be Southern. We've picked out our favorite recipes that are sure to bring you and your family luck in the New Year.

Classic: Hoppin' John

Good-for-You (and tasty, too)!): Hoppin' John Soup