Category Archives: Soups & Stews

Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a version of the black-eyed pea and rice soup/stew served in the South for New Year’s Day.  The idea is that eating black-eyed peas and rice at the new year will bring good luck, health and wealth.  I’m sure it was created long ago by enslaved African Americans and adopted, like so many other recipes, into “southern cooking.”  I picked up the tradition in Charleston in the mid-’80s.

a little tan dog snuggled-in beneath pillows and a blanket
This is Milo.

The only two required ingredients are the black-eyed peas and rice. Everything else is negotiable in any amounts according to your taste. This version uses meat. For a vegetarian version, substitute a smoked ancho pepper and/or smoky-flavored tofu for the smoked sausage; use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Adjust all amounts according to your needs and want.


  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2-3 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 large red or green sweet pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • Garlic, up to 3 cloves, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, and their juice
  • Olive oil
  • 1 good-sized link of smoked sausage (I have used either turkey or regular) or kielbasa
  • Vegetable or chicken stock ( up to 8 cups)
  • Black eyed peas ( 2 cans, or dried – pre soaked, 2-3 cups)
  • Rice (about a cup)
  • Seasonings. (All to taste):
    • 2 bay leaves
    • Thyme
    • Oregano
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Cayenne pepper, Tabasco sauce, and/ or Worcestershire sauce

Optional: I add one canned ancho pepper and some of the sauce for an added kick.


  1. If using dry back-eyed peas, pre soak the way you usually do it. Cans, drain and rinse peas.
  2. Sauté onions, carrots and celery in olive oil till soft.
  3. Add sweet peppers and garlic, and sauté for a few more minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn.
  4. Add tomatoes and juice from the can, stock, black eyed peas, and smoked sausage (vegetarian variant — smoked poblano pepper and/ or smoked tofu).
  5. Add bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper, plus any of the other spices you wish.
  6. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring and tasting occasionally.

*Note: I just noticed that if you threw in some shrimp at the last minute, you would basically have a version of jambalaya.

—Pam Clements

The Magic Soup Recipe

This bad boy will kick the crap out of whatever cold, sinus infection or flu the fates have visited on you.

Ingredients & Directions

2 quarts chicken or veggie broth
3 TBS shredded fresh ginger
1 TBS red pepper flakes
6 chopped garlic cloves, sauteed
1 cup shitake mushrooms
2 chopped red peppers
Combine all of these in a slow cooker on high for at least 2 hours. Then steam and set by:
2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
2 cups of chopped carrots
Any other veggies you like.
Pour the broth over the veggies, eat like you mean it, and then spend the rest of the day sipping the broth and reading schlocky novels.

black and white dog with red lobster toy
This is Orfeo.

—Lauryn Mayer