Southerners hold fast to their annual New Year’s traditions especially when it comes to New Years recipes for dinner. Hoppin John soup and slow cooked greens in pot likker with a slice of cornbread for dipping is practically mandatory. Use your instant pot to save on cooking time for the black eyed peas.
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Southern New Year’s Traditions
On New Year’s Day the world over has its traditions/superstitions about bringing luck, health, and wealth in the coming 12 months.
Beans and Legumes – A favorite because they look like little coins – money!
Greens (collards, mustard greens, kale) are favorites because they represent greenbacks — or BIGGER $$$.
Pork – Back in the day the term “living high on the hog” meant you were getting the choice cuts of meat from the upper portion of the pig (rib chops, tenderloin, loin chops) and were only affordable to the wealthy. Nowadays, we all appreciate the cuts from the lower half of the pig as well (hello, bacon) and anything pork is indicative of prosperity in the New Year.
Hoppin John is a happy amalgam of all of these traditions (though the greens are served on the side — recipe to come). I’ve made this dish for years and although this is my traditional Hoppin’ John recipe, I’ve recently received an Instant Pot and this recipe is adapted for it. With a few adjustments, it’s an easy swap.
Hoppin’ John is traditionally a cross between a soup and a stew — though in this recipe using the Instant Pot — it definitely steps into soup territory. In the Instant pot, you want to cover the beans with liquid and it takes about 4 cups to do it. Watch this video to see how easy it really is.
The sausages may burst under the intense pressure from the cooking process, which is why you’ll want to cut them into chunks before adding them to the Hoppin’ John soup. Add the chopped cilantro after cooking to brighten up the flavors.
This is a New Year’s recipe for dinner that everyone will get behind. Traditional Hoppin’ John soup is warm, meaty, and melt in your mouth good. Serve it with cooked white rice a side of greens and your favorite cornbread. Happy New Year!
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Instant Pot Hoppin' John
- 1 pound black eyed peas
- 3 strips bacon chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 1 jalapeno with seeds and membranes (if you like heat) chopped
- 1 large carrot chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 pound smoked sausage cut into large chunks
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- cooked white rice
- additional chopped cilantro
- hot sauce (We like Crystal's)
- Sift through the black eyed peas, removing any bad beans or errant stones. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water so that the beans are submerged by about two inches. Let the beans reconstitute overnight.
- Rinse and drain the black eyed peas and set aside.
- Turn the Instant Pot to sauté mode and let it heat for a minute or two. Add the chopped bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes or until it renders its fat and starts to crisp.
- Add the chopped onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and jalapeños. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until tender and translucent.
- Stir in the cumin and bay leaf and toss with the vegetables to coat them with the cumin, cooking for about a minute until fragrant.
- Add the black eyed peas to the pot and stir. Add the broth and sausage chunks.
- Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 12 minutes. (Note: it will take the Instant Pot about 15 minutes to achieve pressure because of the volume of food in the vessel).
- Let the pressure release naturally. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve with cooked white rice, additional fresh cilantro and hot sauce if desired.
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Ed S says
This turned out really delicious. I was skeptical about the jalapeño and cilantro but it really works.
Chrissy D says
I was looking for a New Year’s recipe and came across this …. but I haven’t soaked the peas overnight. Can I still make it today?
Yes, you can use a quick soak method on the peas. Place the peas in a large pot or dutch oven and cover with enough cold water to reach 2 inches above the peas. Bring the water to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the peas from the heat and cover with a lid. Let them rest for one hour, covered. Then proceed with the recipe… Note, the peas aren’t cooked, it’s just a pre-soak that you’ve done.
Black-eyed peas are a favorite of mine, and nothing says home like a pot of Hoppin’ John. With the big chunks of sausage this a quick and nutritious weeknight meal. I was looking for one more dinner for this week, and I think the whole family will enjoy this very much.
I love black eyed peas as well — so glad you like the Hoppin John recipe! You’re right, it’s a great weeknight meal.
Marisa Franca says
I love the stories behind the traditions and dishes. I do wish we had an Instant Pot but we can try this recipe on the stove top or slow cooker. I mean we all need extra coins, greenbacks, and life high on the hog, right? Although I will take my bacon any old day!!.
I never heard of hoppin john soup but I want to try it! I love black eye peas so I’m here for it. Before last year, I didn’t even realize it was a new year tradition since our family has black eye beans soup year round.
Thanks so much for explaining the tradition behind the recipe. This sounds really delicious and the recipe is so straight forward. I appreciate the clear directions and the beautiful photos. This will be perfect to make this week during the snow storm.
I’ve just learned about this new year’s day tradition! This is so so so good. The pot likker adds the perfect amount of smokiness. Good luck for the year or not, I felt pretty darn lucky spooning this good stuff into my mouth. I don’t think I could wait another full year before I make it again 😉
Hi there! Usually we got to my parents on New Years for a lucky traditional lunch, but this year they are passing on it as they are getting older. Do you think you could throw some collards into this to make it a one-pot or would you suggest making and serving them separate?
You could absolutely throw some collards in — or kale for that matter. Happy New Year!
Lisa…yummmmm! Every year I make black eyed peas in the spirit of southern tradition…even though I’m not southern, but I love black eyed peas and I love good luck 😉 Your yummy recipe finds me totally ok with ditching my old ‘ham’ routine and throwing down on this gorgeous, scrumptious sausage recipe…even for breakfast! Thanks for sharing another beauty!
I love that you included a snippet about Southern New Year’s traditions! They are so interesting! And this Hoppin John soup looks absolutely delicious. I will definitely make it for New Year’s next year!
We were just recently introduced to this wonderful Southern tradition! A friend of ours from GA made collard greens with black eyed peas and bacon – and last New Years is when we realized that our daughter LOVES black eyed peas! This is definitely something she would LOVE. Pinning and sending to my husband now so he can pick things up at the store for it!
I love cooking with lentils, beans, and legumes. In fact, I plan on doing a lot more of it in 2019!! This soup sounds delicious. I will adapt it to my stovetop pressure cooker. I know the family will love this on a cold winter day.
Thanks, Gloria — it easily adapts to the standard pressure cooker — but you can also do it in a dutch oven — I have another recipe for that on this site.
When I moved to the south I had heard of all the traditional dishes southerners enjoy for the holidays but I have never heard of this soup, thank you for a new delicious soup to add to my list!
Claudia Lamascolo says
ham and beans and cabbage is a must right after the holiday. We always use up the leftovers!
I love thinking outside the box of traditional holiday recipes, and this one certainly checks that box. It’s the perfect time of year for soup, too! Looks scrumptious!
Nicole C Tingwall says
I had hoppin john chicken for the first time over the summer and fell in love! Can’t wait to try this soup!
Veena Azmanov says
I absolutely love the name of this soup. So cute.. I think my kids would eat this soup only because they’d be fascinated with the names. Sounds so scrumptious and nutritious.
Delicious! We usually make ham and beans as a New Years Day tradition to bring prosperity.