A Charleston New Year's tradition

If you are spending this New Year’s holiday at Festiva’s resort in Charleston, SC, or if you would simply like to partake in a delicious Low Country tradition wherever you are celebrating, get the family together and make Hoppin’ John for your first meal of 2011.

While the history behind the Hoppin’ John dish is varied, most Low Country residents agree that this Gullah dish will bring you good luck for the entire¬† year if it’s the first thing you eat on New Year’s Day. The dish is fairly basic, with rice, black-eyed peas and ham hock or bacon. Some believe that pairing Hoppin’ John with a side of collard greens could bring you financial luck in the new year.

There are many recipes available for both Hoppin’ John and collard greens, but we’d like to share recipes from a couple of familiar faces from the Food Network. Feel free to leave a comment with your variation on the recipe or other New Year’s traditions your family has!

Emeril Lagasse’s Hoppin’ John recipe on Food Network:


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large ham hock
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
  • Salt, black pepper, and cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
  • 3 cups steamed white rice


Heat oil in a large soup pot, add the ham hock and sear on all sides for 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, cook for 4 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, thyme, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the peas are creamy and tender, stir occasionally. If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock. Adjust seasonings, and garnish with green onions. Serve over rice.

*For a vegetarian-friendly option, omit the ham hock and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Paula Deen’s Collard Greens recipe on Food Network:


  • 1/2 pound smoked meat (ham hocks, smoked turkey wings, or smoked neck bones)
  • 1 tablespoon House seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce
  • 1 large bunch collard greens
  • 1 tablespoon butter


In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add smoked meat, house seasoning, seasoned salt and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour.

Wash the collard greens thoroughly. Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand. The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don’t need to be stripped. Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-ince thick slices. Place greens in pot with meat and add butter. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with favorite dish as a side.

*For a vegetarian version, omit meat.

House Seasoning:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

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