According to tradition, New Year’s Day supper will bring you fortune in the year to come. Here are our favorite recipes for Greens, Black-Eyed Peas, Cornbread, Hoppin’ John, and Pot Likker Soup.
According to Southern traditions, you will have good luck for the entire year if you have the traditional New Year’s Day supper. That means a meal of greens, hoppin’ John, black-eyed peas, cornbread, and pot likker soup. Here are our favorite New Year’s recipes. We guarantee they’ll taste great—the luck is up to you. For a new twist on Southern traditions, try the Hoppin’ John Noodle Bowls, or the oven-roasted Black-Eyed Peas for Munching. If you want the classic New Year’s recipes, you can enjoy our mouthwatering Southern-Style Collard Greens, Pot Likker, or Good Luck Greens and Peas with Ham. However you cook up your New Year’s recipes, hopefully these traditional Southern New Year's Day recipes will mean your table will be filled with the perfect dishes for good luck.
Hoppin' John Noodle Bowls
Recipe: Hoppin' John Noodle Bowls
Serve straight from the stove, and let guests garnish their own bowls.
Recipe: Skillet Cornbread
Recipe: Sour Cream Cornbread
Cornbread, which some say symbolizes gold, completes the Southern New Year’s triad. Native Americans were the first to bake a cornmeal mixture, and Southerners made it daily when wheat was a rarity in the region. For authentic Southern flavor, choose a recipe that uses little, if any, sugar and flour. Don’t forget the cracklings, crispy morsels produced during the rendering of lard.
Southern-Style Collard Greens
Recipe: Southern-Style Collard Greens
Slow-cooking collards with pork makes them mouthwatering and tender. Their soul-warming taste can be perfected only with the addition of vinegar.
Be sure to save a few uncooked greens to tack to the ceiling for good luck or hang over the door to ward off evil spirits.
Recipe: Hoppin’ John
Recipe: “Big Easy” Gumbo
Hoppin' John pairs black-eyed peas with rice. The rice and beans are cooked slowly with bacon, fatback, or ham hock along with onion and salt. “Skippin’ Jenny,” as the leftovers are known the day after New Year’s, shows one’s frugality; eating it increases your chances of prosperity.
Quick Collard Greens
Recipe: Sautéed Greens
Don’t be afraid to try a fresher, quicker recipe for this Southern dietary staple. Sautéed Collard Greens are packed with flavor from chopped ginger and spicy serrano peppers. Plus, they’re better for you and cook in just 26 minutes.
Freshened-Up Black-eyed Peas
Recipe: Lucky Black-eyed Pea Salad
This dish offers an updated take on black-eyed peas while still delivering the good luck of the traditional dish. Peppery watercress fills in for traditional greens, and Chilean peaches add fresh flair.
Test Kitchen Tip: Frozen black-eyed peas deliver the taste and texture of fresh—they hold their shape and absorb less dressing than softer canned and dried peas. When using in salads, trim the recommended cook time by 5 or 10 minutes and simmer only until al dente.
Recipe: Pot Likker Soup
Pot likker, the juice left in a pot after collards cook, is traditionally valued as a delicacy and aphrodisiac. Be sure to sop up the vitamin-rich pot likker with your cornbread or make it into this warm and comforting soup.
Black-eyed Peas for Munching
Recipe: Chili-Roasted Black Eyed Peas
With the flavor-packed coating on these treats, you’ll easily be able to eat 365; some traditions hold that you must eat one for each day of the coming year. Roasting the peas gives them a crispy texture that’s perfect for snacking or serving as an appetizer on New Year’s Day.
Good Luck Greens and Peas with Ham
Greens and Black-eyed Peas
Recipe: Easy Black-eyed Peas
Recipe: Southern-Style Collard Greens
These two Southern classics all but guarantee a prosperous year. Some say the greens represent dollar bills and the black-eyed peas, coins, ensuring wealth and luck.
According to folklore, this auspicious New Year’s Day tradition dates back to the Civil War, when Union troops pillaged the land, leaving behind only black-eyed peas and greens as animal fodder. Rich in nutrients, these were the humble foods that enabled Southerners to survive. Details of stories differ, but each celebrates a communion of family and friends bound by grateful hearts and renewed hope for good things yet to come.