Hopping John Soup (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup)
Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup (Hopping John Soup) is my favorite dish to make for good luck in the New Year! This tasty soup is not really that photogenic, but it’s low-glycemic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and South Beach Diet friendly. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
For years now I’ve been making this tasty Hopping John Soup with Black-Eyed Peas, Ham, and Collard Greens for good luck in the New Year, and if you’re willing to eat a few carbs to get good luck, I highly recommend this soup that has all the luck-bringing properties of Hopping John! If you want a lower-carb version use more ham and collards and less black-eyed peas. Hopping John is traditionally made on New Year’s Day, but make it ahead if you want to get started early on the luck.
If you’re not familiar with Hopping John, it’s eaten throughout the southern U.S. on New Year’s Day. The origin of the name Hopping John is uncertain, but it’s thought to have come from the Creole French pronunciation of the pigeon peas used in the dish. Recipe variations for Hopping John abound, but all contain ham, black eyed peas, and collard greens, the peas representing coins and the collard greens representing dollar bills for financial luck in the new year. I took the Hopping John ingredients of black-eyed peas, ham, and collard greens and turned them into a soup a few years ago, and the recipe has been something I’ve made for New Year’s luck ever since.
Of course this year I’m spending the holidays in Mexico so I won’t be making any Hopping John Soup. I hope I can find some lucky Oaxacan food instead! And there are also other Lucky Black-Eyed Peas Recipes on the blog if you want to get even more good luck!
Chop the onions and celery and cook them just until they start to soften, adding garlic the last few minutes. While the onions cook, chop the ham. (If you ham has a rind, save it to add to the soup for more flavor.) After onions/celery/garlic mixture is done, add the chopped ham and saute over very low heat for about 10 minutes. In a large soup pot, add the ham/onion/celery/garlic mixture, chicken stock, black-eyed peas, dried thyme, and ham rinds if you have them. Let this cook at a low simmer for about an hour. (These photos are a double batch of soup.)
While the soup simmers, cut away the thick inner rib of the collard greens, then coarsely chop the greens. After soup has simmered for one hour, taste for flavor, adding some ham flavor base if needed and adding a little water if the soup seems too thick. Add chopped collard greens to the soup and let simmer for about one hour more. When the black-eyed peas are as sort as you’d like, remove the ham rind and then use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup, being careful not to overdo it if you want a soup with some chunkiness to it. Add the red pepper flakes and vinegar and simmer 10 minutes more (or longer; I sometimes cook it an hour or so longer at this point.) Serve hot and enjoy the good luck!
More Black-Eyed Peas for New Year’s:
Black-Eyed Pea Hummus with Olive Oil and Sumac ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas ~ Southern Plate
Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Sausage and Peppers ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cowboy Caviar ~ Valerie’s Kitchen
Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Peppers, Cilantro, and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Black-Eyed Pea Salad ~ She Wears Many Hats
Hopping John Soup (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup)
- 1 onion, chopped in fairly small pieces
- 1 cup celery, chopped in fairly small pieces
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 2-3 cups diced ham (cut off the ham rind and save)
- 8 cups homemade chicken stock (or use water with chicken soup base or canned chicken broth)
- 2 16 oz. packages frozen black-eyed peas (or use 6 cups freshly cooked black-eyed peas or 4 cans black-eyed peas)
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 bunch fresh collard greens, chopped (about 2 cups when measured after chopping, but next time I would use more)
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 T apple cider vinegar, or more to taste
- Optional: ham flavor base if needed (I like Goya Ham Flavor Concentrate if you can find it)
- In large frying pan, saute onion and celery in olive oil about 5 minutes, until starting to soften. Add garlic and cook about 2 minutes more.
- Then add ham and saute over very low heat 10 minutes. (Don’t skip this step, which concentrates the ham flavor into the vegetables.)
- Transfer mixture to large soup pot, add chicken stock, black eyed peas, dried thyme, and ham rinds if available, and cook at very low simmer for one hour.
- After soup has cooked one hour, taste for flavoring. Add more water and ham flavor base if needed. (It will depend on your ham, but I usually add a tiny bit. I added about 2 cups more water to the soup at this point.)
- Add chopped collard greens, stir into soup and simmer one hour more, or until black-eyed peas are quite soft.
- When black-eyed peas are as soft as you want them, remove pieces of ham rind, then use an immersion blender, food processor, or hand masher to partially process about half the soup. You want a mixture of broken and unbroken black-eyes peas, with some thickening of the soup from the pureeing process. Be careful not to over process.
- Add red pepper flakes and vinegar and simmer 10 minutes more (or longer, I sometimes cook as much as an hour more at this point.)
- Serve hot.
This recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from The Gourmet Cookbook.)All images and text ©
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This soup would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but limit serving sizes for phase one when dried beans are limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving size. If you wanted to reduce the carb count for the soup or be able to eat a larger serving, use more ham, celery, and collard greens in proportion to the other ingredients. However, even with that lower-carb version, black-eyed peas are not a low-carb ingredient, so if you’re strictly limiting carbs you’ll have to miss out on the luck!
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