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Hopping John Soup or Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup (Video)

Hopping John Soup (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and  Collard Greens 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.

Click here to PIN Hopping John Soup!

Watch the video to see if you’d like to make Hopping John Soup
(Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup)!


Hopping John Soup for Good Luck in the New Year (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup) found on KalynsKitchen.com

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!


Hopping John Soup for Good Luck in the New Year (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup) found on KalynsKitchen.com

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.)

Hopping John Soup for Good Luck in the New Year (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup) found on KalynsKitchen.com

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!

Hopping John Soup for Good Luck in the New Year (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup) found on KalynsKitchen.com

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)

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Then add ham and saute over very low heat 10 minutes. (Don’t skip this step, which concentrates the ham flavor into the vegetables.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. Add chopped collard greens, stir into soup and simmer one hour more, or until black-eyed peas are quite soft.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.)
  8. 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 Hopping John 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!

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.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutritional analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Hopping John Soup for Good Luck in the New Year (Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup) found on KalynsKitchen.com

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72 comments on “Hopping John Soup or Black-Eyed Pea, Ham, and Collard Greens Soup (Video)”

  1. This is a hearty and very delicious dish. I wanted to stretch it a bit, so I opted to use half the ham and half the beans, but the rest unchanged. Really tasty and filling. I'll make it often – thanks and happy new year!

  2. Thanks you so very much for responding on this holiday!! Happy NY.

  3. I ended up with fresh black-eyed peas. Their package says to cook 2 hours, but this seems so long prior to putting in soup where they will cook another 2 hours.

    • Diana, I haven't used the fresh ones but I'd just keep testing them as they cook and when they're starting to soften I think you could proceed with the soup. The frozen peas are not that well-cooked.

  4. I was surprised and delighted by how much I loved this soup since I was not a black-eyed peas fan before. Well, I've made this soup for New Year's 2 years in a row now and plan to make it a tradition. Can't wait to try more of your recipes!

  5. I haven't cooked with pancetta much, but I think it would work if it's not too fatty. If you're using canned black-eyed peas, you could probably cook it for a bit shorter time.

  6. Would it work to replace the ham with diced pancetta in this recipe? And do the cooking times change if you use canned peas? Thanks!

  7. Dia, so glad that you liked it. And I didn't think about this being gluten-free; I'm going to add it to my gluten-free index.!

  8. — & it's nice that it's naturally Gluten Free!

  9. Another year, another soup! Last year I was in our Natural Food store around NY, & was offered a cup of Hopping John soup – so this year I decided to make my own. Found your recipe, got cans of beans & some Kale from a local farmer at our Saturday Market!
    When my kids were young, we grew collards & kale, & found we liked the kale better, so let the chickens have the collards!! Herbalist Susun Weed suggests cooking kale close to an hour, to break down the cell walls & make the minerals more available, so this was perfect!
    I used the slow cooker, & kept to the recipe – I tend to make 'soups' with more veggies – so I'll probably add some roots tomorrow – & here in Oregon, we often have celery root in winter, which would be fun!
    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  10. Mom-ster, so glad you liked it!

  11. I made this soup today — it was so delicouls. Thanks for sharing it. I've no doubt I'll make it again on another cold winter day.

  12. No worries BCR, I just wanted to clarify in case another reader saw that comment and couldn't find the recipe.

  13. I an sorry, I wrote the Sweet Potato cornbread recipe in my recipe book and assumed it was one of your recipes but after your denial and tracing the recipe, it is from another source, Webmd.com.
    BCR

  14. So glad you liked it. (I don't have a recipe for sweet potato cornbread though; not sure where you got that one!)

  15. Last night I cooked and served the Hopping John, Collard greens blackeye pea soup with a side of your sweet potato corn bread which I made into muffins. The meal was delicious. My picky husband ate every bit and complimented me on the meal. It was a fantastic twist on traditional southern dishes. Your recipes ROCK!!
    BCR

  16. Wanda, nice seeing you too. Glad you enjoyed the soups at the party. Yes, it was great to see Cheryl wasn't it.

  17. Kalyn: Great time at your Soup and Conversation party on New Years Day…quite a nice crowd, especially seeing old friends (from 15 years ago?)
    Your four soups were lip smacking delicious. I tasted the Hopping John soup first for good luck in 2011, and then the others. All were outstanding. Thanks again.
    Wanda

  18. Thanks Anna, and Happy New Year to you too!

  19. gorgeous photo of the final product.
    i love soup and a i love beans, and now that jonas is eating meat (and then lost heaps of weight!) this looks perfect for us once the weather starts getting colder.

  20. Pam, so glad you liked the soups. Bean soups would be great for Kelly; full of slow-digesting carbs. I'll have to try to brainwash him on this topic, lol!

  21. Absolutely loved the soup last night! I will definitely be making this one. Just made the anasazi bean one, but still needs to cook more tomorrow. Now I need to convert Kelly to liking bean soup more.

  22. Hi Rach, so glad you liked the soups! It's been fun getting to know you more too. And I will always be proud of my first cooking students! We'll cook a lot more good things in 2011!

  23. Kalyn!!! I loved the Hopping John Soup, as well as the Black Bean one!!! Thank you so much for letting me get to know you this year, and for all your cooking tips, lessons, and good food to come in the new year.

    Happy New Year!

    Thanks-Rach

  24. Anonymous, so happy that you're making this soup into a tradition I haven't noticed that mine gets that green (maybe I don't blend it as long) but good idea to blend before adding the collards if you want them more whole

    Christine, so glad you liked it

  25. Made this for dinner and it was delicious! Thank you!

  26. Thanks for helping me create a tradition. This is my second year of making this soup for New Year's Day. One tip: I don't like how green the soup turns from the pulverized collard greens when a portion is ground up by the immersion blender. So I do that step before adding the greens.

  27. Anonymous, I’m surprised. Was it that the peas and collards just disintegrated from being cooked too long?

  28. I have enjoyed many your recipes, but thought the readers may want to know, this recipe does not adapt well to the slow cooker, which surprised me.

  29. Great! I had no idea what to do with my leftovers! I hosted lunch for my in-laws today with the traditional southern NY Day items and her words were “you did very good for an European”…ehehehe!!!
    This soup is my list for tomorrow!

  30. Hey Kalyn! I linked to your recipe in my Butternut Chili post. 🙂

  31. I went to Kalyn’s party and tried some of the soup. Now I am not much for collard greens, but I did like the soup very much. Kalyn always has many wonderful choices of soup at this party—I loved all of them.
    Thanks Kalyn for letting us enjoy your cooking and your company.

  32. Thanks SO MUCH for this recipe and for creating this site!! I have a dear friend who lives in British Columbia. I will tell her about your site and send her this recipe! *Blessings*

  33. Chigiy at Gardener’s Anonymous said:

    Oh, this time of year I crave soup all the time. It’s raining here tonight and this soup looks soooo good.
    Happy New year.

  34. mmmmmmm thx for the good luck soup 🙂 loooks goooot

    happy new yr 🙂

  35. Hi Kalyn! I want to wish you and yours a very Happpy New Year with all the best in 2008 🙂

  36. my boyfriend’s mother always seeks out black eyed peas on new years day — i’ll have to show her this soup!

  37. I love Hoppin’ John. Thanks for the reminder! Have fun at your soup party.

    Sending warm wishes for a healthy, safe and creative New Year, Kalyn! xoxo

  38. I have lurked for a long time but never posted. I started SB Diet yesterday, and can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog.

    Thank you so much for a ton of SB inspiration.

    It is a truly wonderful diet

  39. Mrs. L., honeybaked ham wouldn’t be good for South Beach, but otherwise there’s no reason you couldn’t use it in this recipe. I’m not sure about subbing spinach for collard greens, the flavor is quite different. Collard greens have a very mild, almost sweet flavor when they’re cooked. Swiss chard would be a closer substitute, or cabbage would also be a good choice. If all you have is spinach, of course you could use it, but it would be a very different soup. Let me know if you try it that way.

  40. I just brought home fresh black eyed peas for a party on Sunday. The soup looks wonderful. My mom always served black eyed peas on New Years Eve and Day!!

  41. I know Kalyn is not blogging right now but does anyone know if leftover HoneyBaked ham would work here (taking off the glazed crust of course)? And also can spinach or something else be substituted for the collard greens?

  42. This is the start of new comments from December 2007 when I updated this recipe.

  43. Kayln,
    I discovered your blog recently and have been scoping out many recipes to make.
    I made this soup tonight (a little skeptical), but it is WONDERFUL!
    Thanks so much for posting,
    Jeanine

  44. This soup looks so good, and so good for you! And I love the idea of a soup party.

    Very nice blog!

  45. Melissa, Indira, Sailu and Paz, Happy New Year to all of you. Paz, the party was great. I’m lucky to have a lot of good friends.

  46. Very filling, this looks like! I’ve never heard this name before. I think that everyone must have had a fun time at your party. Happy New Year!

    Paz

  47. Wishing you and your family a wonderful and safe NEW YEAR and may it bring you more lovely meals, friends, laughter, and so much more.The soup is looking lovely.

  48. Wishing you happy and fulfilling new year, Kalyn!

  49. Wow Kalyn, it looks delicious! Thank you for joining us in the party! Feliz Año Nuevo! Love,
    Melissa

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