Hoppin’ John Soup with Kale

Hoppin’ John Soup with Kale
I don’t care where she is, Mom will find a way to have her traditional hog jowl and peas (for luck), her cooked greens (for prosperity) and accompanying corn bread for New Year’s Day. I remember the time we were all in Hawaii between Christmas and New Year’s and Mom slipped a package of black-eyed peas, several cans of greens, and cornbread fixin’s in her suitcase. We managed to find a piece of pork, and I’ll never  forget sitting in our  Waikiki Beach condo overlooking the Pacific Ocean and eating a make-shift Southern New Year’s Day feast. I don’t think it ever tasted better than that year.

After Christmas I’m heading to visit Mom, my cousins Gwen and Patricia, and my Aunt Dot in Montgomery. Mom and my cousin Gwen living in a lovely condominium with a small kitchenette overlooking a tree-lined property, where I’ll make this dish and a big basket of corn muffins. It may not be quite as good as Waikiki Beach, but I know the gratitude of being together will make up the difference.

Hoppin’ John Soup with Kale
Serves: 8
  • 1 pound black eyes peas
  • Salt
  • 1 meaty ham bone or ham hock
  • 2 quarts chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into medium dice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 6 packed cups washed, stemmed and torn kale leaves
  • 4 cups cooked rice, your choice
  1. Soak peas in 1½ quarts water seasoned with 1½ teaspoons salt until plump, 6 hours or overnight. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts water and ham to simmer over medium-high heat in large soup kettle. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until ham starts to pull away from the bone and a fork stuck in the meat comes out with some resistance, 1½ to 2 hours. Remove ham from soup and shred when cool enough to handle; discard bone and rind. Strain broth and add enough chicken broth to equal 2 quarts.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions, sauté until they soften and start to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add thyme, broth, peas, and reserved ham; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue to simmer, partially covered, until peas are tender, 1½ hours.
  4. When ready to serve, add remaining quart of broth and return to a simmer. Add kale; continue to cook until wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes longer. Serve.
You can substitute a one pound package of frozen kale for the fresh, if you like.


Keep It Fresh

Keep up-to-date with:
New recipes, contests and giveaways, Three Many Cooks news, and much more.


  1. says

    An absolutely lovely soup and perfectly representative of our southern New Year’s traditions. I was just reflecting yesterday on how I’ve eaten the same meal on New Year’s Day for my entire life. And I will again next week. Traditions such as these keep up grounded and black eyed peas with hog jowl and greens is one of my favorites.

  2. Kate says

    I made this today and we just had it for dinner. It was absolutely delicious. I substituted escarole for the kale (that’s my favorite green for soup) and we all devoured it. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  3. Sharon S says

    I also made this for our New Year’s Day dinner. Delicious!!!! I substituted spinach for the kale since that’s what I had in the frig. There are leftovers for lunch today…..yum.

Share Your Comments & Feedback:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *