Hoppin' John for a Prosperous New Year

The New Year's tradition of feasting on Hoppin' John, accompanied by leafy greens and cornbread, holds a cherished place in many American households. Derived from the Gullah Geechee, this dish is as legendary as it is savory and has become a symbol of hope for prosperity and good luck in the year ahead. The components of the dish are laden with significance: peas, resembling coins, are believed to usher in wealth; the greens are reminiscent of money; and the cornbread, with its golden color and round shape, symbolizes gold and riches.

Adding to the tradition, some families place a coin under the dish or incorporate extra pork, practices thought to enhance the chances of good fortune. The ritual of eating leftover "Skippin' Jenny" on the following day goes beyond mere leftovers; it signifies frugality and the aspiration for even greater prosperity in the upcoming year. 


  • 1 ham hock diced (or substitute diced ham or bacon)
  • ½ onion
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 - 1 ½ cups red peas (or substitute with black-eyed peas)
  • 2 cups Carolina Gold rice (or substitute with long-grain white rice)
  • 2 teaspoons of pepper vinegar 
  • Pinch of: - Salt - Onion powder - Garlic powder - Paprika - Cayenne Pepper - Seasoning Salt - Garlic Salt


Let ham hock boil for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Dice onion, bell pepper and garlic–set aside. Add red peas once ham hock is tender. Stir occasionally. Next, add onion, bell pepper, garlic and pepper vinegar. Mix ingredients. Add dry spices (salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, seasoning salt and garlic salt). Add water as needed for peas (enough to cover ingredients in dish) and cover dish with lid. Cook until the peas are tender (about 20-30 minutes). 

Rinse the rice until water runs clear. *Do not skip this step! It will take at least 4-6 rinses. Add rice to dish and cover in water. Mix ingredients and let cook for 15-30 minutes until the rice is tender.