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January 4, 2011

Jennifer’s New Year’s Wish for You: A Touch of Southern Hospitality

Jennifer Clark

My gift to you, dear friends, is snow! What’s that you say? You’ve had enough?Well, then, ahem…let’s try again. As the newest member of the Big Duck team and a recent transplant from Atlanta, GA, my New Year’s wish to you all (a.k.a. y’all) is a helping of Southern Hospitality.In the south, more often than not, hospitality comes in the form of food. What follows is a recipe for something called Hoppin’ John. It’s a southern traditional recipe best prepared and feasted on each New Year’s Day, paired with a side of vinegary collards. The main ingredients of this classic meal symbolize the household’s hopes for a prosperous and fortunate New Year–for example, leafy collards stand in for dollar bills and black-eyed peas represent coins.


…Which all seems very capitalistic, until you realize that, historically, the humble ingredients in Hoppin’ John would probably have come from the bounty of a local or family farm. To me, the recipe showcases resourcefulness: the ability to make something great out of, well, very little. Personally, the annual preparation of this dish allows me the chance to share wishes for prosperity and bounty with others.Plus it’s veggie-heavy, tasty, and very warming. Best wishes for the New Year.

Hoppin’ John (or eat the leftovers on January 2nd and call it Skippin’ Jenny) Ingredients

3 c. dried black-eyed peas, covered in water and soaked overnight

2 c. white rice, dry1 large Vidalia onion, chopped

Red pepper flakes to taste

1 meaty ham hock (knee joint)

*First, drain the soaked beans and place them in a large pot along with 6 cups of water, the chopped onion, the red pepper flakes, and the ham hock. Bring contents to a boil and reduce the heat. Once the beans have softened, add the dry rice and cook until tender and fluffy, adding more water if necessary. Remove the ham bone, adding any residual meat to the pot, and serve with a side of boiled collards.* Not sure where to find this? Allow me to recommend The Meat Hook, Brooklyn’s finest source for smoked hocks and trotters, for those of you that live in the New York area.

More ducktastic wishes