Hoppin John – A New Year’s Tradition. In the Southern United States, Hoppin John is something that is served around New Year’s Day. It is a simple dish of black-eyed peas, pork, and rice. The old wives’ tale is that it’s believed to bring luck and peace in the coming year to anyone who eats it. #soulfoodsunday #hoppinjohn
Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders
My Guest for Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders is Willie Hines. Willie is currently the Secretary-Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) and has been with HACM since 2014. He oversees HACM’s public housing and housing choice voucher programs, which provide affordable housing options to over 10,000 low-income families, seniors, and adults with disabilities.
A former resident of Milwaukee’s public housing, Hines believes that stable, affordable housing provides the foundation for opportunity and good quality of life.
Before joining the staff of HACM, he served as President of the Milwaukee Common Council (2004-2014) and Alderman of Milwaukee’s 15th District (1996 to 2014). He also served as Chairman of HACM’s Board of Commissioners from 1998-2014.
Before being on the Milwaukee Common Council, Willie worked as an economic development specialist at the Milwaukee Urban League. He was a business liaison representative for former Congressman James Moody (D-WI), and in the private sector for both Pepsi and Ford Motor Credit.
Willie has a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and also played basketball at Marquette. He was recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award in 2014.
Hoppin John History
Some say an old man called Hoppin John became known for selling peas and rice on the streets of Charleston, SC. But some food historians think the name comes from a French term for dried peas, “pois pigeons.”
Hoppin John and New Year’s Luck
It’s not known why the dish became associated with New Year’s and good luck. The story that is given the most credence is that enslaved people would often have the period between Christmas and New Year’s off since no crops were growing at that time. Hoppin John was, and still is, often eaten with collard greens, which can resemble paper money and “golden” cornbread. The black-eyed peas are supposed to look like coins. Some families hedge their bets around the potential of their Hoppin John by placing a penny underneath the dishes. Or they just add extra pork, which is thought to bring more luck.
Modern Hoppin John
Some modern versions of Hoppin John exchange the pork for smoked turkey thighs. Those bring flavor but less fat to the meal. And it is served on top of steamed white rice.
One tradition common in the Southern US is that everyone at the table should leave three peas from their Hoppin John on their plate. That is supposed to ensure that the New Year will be filled with luck, fortune, and romance.
Cooking With Milwaukee Community Leaders
I do a short interview with my guest, talk about their work in the community, and then cook something at our condo building. They pick whatever we are going to cook and I act as their sous chef.
You can view the previous Cooking/Interview at the links listed below.
Wendy Baumann (President of WWBIC) Interview – Tuna Bien Masabe Jose Andres Recipe –https://youtu.be/wGn3YclrPds. The recipe article is at https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2022/11/20/tunabienmasabe
Sadhna Lindvall (President of the Shorewood Foundation) Interview – Pastelillos (Dominican empanadas) https://youtu.be/PNxm3O8l4pE. The recipe article is at https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2022/11/28/dominican-empanadas-pastelillos/
Wendell Willis (Former MPS Foundation Exec Director) Interview – Steak Fajitas – Easy Margarita Recipe – https://youtu.be/0G12gTts1Go. The recipe article is https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2022/12/06/steak-fajitas-wendell-willis-interview/
Ricardo Diaz (Former Exec Director of UCC) Interview – Cuban Tostones and Plantains Recipe – https://youtu.be/49u0OR7fa8sThe Recipe article is https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2022/12/21/sweet-plantains-vs-tostones-ricardo-diaz-interview/
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson – Copycat McDonald’s Breakfast Sandwiches – YouTube Video is at https://youtu.be/eWkN4nI5ueE The Recipe article is https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2023/01/16/copycat-mcdonalds-breakfast-sandwiches
Joanne Anton, Director of Giving for Herb Kohl Philanthropies – Spanakopita, The Youtube video can be seen at Joanne Anaton -Spanakopita. The recipe article is at https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2023/02/09/spanakopita-and-joanne-anton-interview/
Cecelia Gore is the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Brewers Community Foundation. Cecelia is listed in the 2023 Milwaukee Business Journal’s Top 100 Powerbrokers in Milwaukee. After our interview, Cecelia shows us how to make the Stetson Salad. The YouTube video is here – https://youtu.be/_bbXPP_JzAo The recipe can be found here – https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2023/02/16/stetson-salad-and-cecelia-gore
- No special equipment needed
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1 pkg frozen spinach
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 6 oz. andouille sausage sliced
- 1/3 cup onion chopped
- 1/3 cup green pepper chopped
- 1/3 cup red pepper chopped
- 1 large clove of garlic finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno diced
- 2 15- oz. cans of black-eyed peas
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1.5 packets of Goya seasoning
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- Cornbread optional
- Cook the rice according to the package directions.
- Put frozen spinach in a pan and heat separately on medium-low. Season with Salt & pepper
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the sausage and cook, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the peppers and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in the jalapenos and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the beans and cook until heated through.
- Add garlic powder and Goya seasoning. Paprika, salt, and pepper
- Add Bar-B-Q sauce and stir to combine
- Stir to combine and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes
- Serve over the rice and also serve with Cornbread.
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If you like this recipe for Hoppin John then you should try our recipe for Red Beans and Rice
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5 thoughts on “Hoppin John and Willie Hines Interview”
Another great interview and cooking segment with Milwaukee Community Leaders
I have heard of this recipe but never saw a recipe for it. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the history behind it.
I’ve not heard of this dish before. Probably because I live across the pond! Ha ha! But any dish with black-eyed peas in, I love!
Thanks Bernadette and thanks for your great support
Yes it is a Southern US dish, and it was very good