A Southern New Year"s Tradition

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Every New Years' Eve, many people from the south carry on a particular tradition.
They cook up a traditional dish that is meant to be eaten at the beginning of each new year.
What is it, you ask? Hoppin' John is the name of this dish, and it's meant to bring those who eat it wealth and good luck in the year to come.
The greens (you can use collard greens, mustard greens, kale, chard, etc.
) represent wealth, and the peas symbolize peace.
Some people place pennies or other pieces of change under the serving bowls.
Others stir a dime in the pot and the person who finds it in their serving gets an extra helping of good luck during the next year.
Before digging in, it's customary to say, "Eat poor this day, eat rich the rest of the year.
Rice for riches and peas for peace.
" (The main ingredient is black-eyed peas, so if you're not a fan of these ugly little beans, you might not want to try this particular recipe.
Also, please make sure to soak the dried beans the night before and sort through them to eliminate any debris or tiny pebbles that may have ended up in the bag.
) Hoppin' John • 1 large ham hock • 1 tbsp oil • 1 lb black eyed peas, soaked overnight, drained • 1 c chopped onion • 1 bunch chopped collard greens • 3/4 c chopped celery • 1/2 c chopped green pepper • 1 qt chicken stock • 3 c steamed white rice • Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste In a large soup pot, heat oil and fry ham hock for a few minutes.
Make sure to cook on all sides.
Add green pepper, celery and onion; cook for 4 minutes.
Add chicken stock, greens and peas, bring to a gentle boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add water if needed.
Season with salt, pepper and cayenne to your liking and serve over steamed rice.
Serve and Enjoy!
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