Hopping John Soup (Video)
Hopping John Soup has black-eyed peas, ham, and collard greens, and this is my favorite dish to make for luck in the New Year!
For years I’ve been making this tasty Hopping John Soup 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. There are also more tasty Lucky Black-Eyed Peas Recipes on the blog if you want to get even more good luck!
What are Black-Eyed Peas?
Black-Eyed peas are legumes that are grown around the world. Here’s more about this tasty ingredient that are sometimes called Black-Eyed Beans. In the United States they are often made into a southern dish called Hopping John.
How to Make Hopping John Soup:
(Scroll down for complete printable recipe.)
- 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 (or if you have Homemade Ham Stock I would definitely use that for this recipe), 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 (affiliate link) 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 soft 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 ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas ~ Southern Plate
Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Soup ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cowboy Caviar ~ Valerie’s Kitchen
Black-Eyed Pea Salad ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Black-Eyed Pea Salad ~ She Wears Many Hats
- 1 small onion, chopped in fairly small pieces
- 1 cup celery, chopped in fairly small pieces
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 3 cups diced ham (cut off the ham rind and save; you can get by with a bit less ham if needed)
- 8 cups homemade chicken stock (see notes)
- 2 16 oz. packages frozen black-eyed peas (see notes)
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 bunch fresh collard greens, chopped (see notes)
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 T apple cider vinegar, or more to taste
- Optional: ham flavor base
- 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.
If you don't have homemade chicken stock you can use water with Better than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base (affiliate link) or canned chicken broth (affiliate link) instead. I also like to use Goya Ham Flavor Concentrate (affiliate link) for more ham flavor. (Or if you have Homemade Ham Stock I would definitely use that for this recipe, in which case you won't need the ham flavor base!)
You can also use 6 cups freshly cooked black-eyed peas or 4 cans black-eyed peas to make this soup. One bunch of collard greens is about 2 cups when measured after chopping, but next time I would use more.
This recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from The Gourmet Cookbook.)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 1023mgCarbohydrates: 28.5gFiber: 9gSugar: 9gProtein: 31g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Black-eyed peas are not low in carbs, but if you want to reduce the carb count for the soup use more ham, celery, and collard greens in proportion to the other ingredients. However, even with that lower-carb version if you’re strictly limiting carbs you’ll have to miss out on the black-eyed pea luck! This Hopping John Soup would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but limit serving sizes for phase one.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Soup Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.