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Lucky Black Eyed Peas, Hog Jowl and Foods for the New Year's Meal - Traditional Southern Cooking Recipes

This author loves cooking and sharing traditional recipes for all holidays!

Black Eyed Peas and More!

Traditional southern New Year's Day meal

Traditional southern New Year's Day meal

What foods bring luck for the new year?

There are a number of traditional foods cooked on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day around the world. Why are certain foods considered lucky? Many have to do with the color of money--or even the shape of money. Eating these lucky foods on New Year's Day is supposed to bring luck in the new year, particularly in the form of wealth.

In the south, the most common lucky New Year's Day meal consists of black-eyed peas, hog jowl, collard greens, and cornbread. I remember my mother occasionally upholding the New Year's Day tradition of black eyed peas and hog jowl, but I don't think this tradition was honored in our household on a yearly basis. Maybe that's why I'm still neither lucky nor wealthy.

Don't forget the cornbread!

Cornbread, likely for its money-related golden color, is also a lucky dish that complements the black eyed peas. I usually mix up a box of Jiffy or other packaged cornbread, but you can easily make your own by following the recipe on the back of most containers of cornmeal.

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas are the most common "lucky" food for New Year's in the southern states. Why? Many say that beans are equated to coins, promising wealth and luck for the new year.

So, just to be safe, open up a can of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. If you want to make them from scratch, buy dry black eyed peas in the bag and make a simple recipe of black-eyed peas:

  • 16 oz bag black-eyed peas
  • medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. each of salt and pepper
  • enough water to cover
  • optional: 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp. cumin

Cook on low in slow cooker 6-8 hours. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Hog Jowl

I don't even know if hog jowl--or pork jowl--can be bought in other parts of the United States or even across the world, but it can always be bought in the southern United States before New Year's. I haven't seen it throughout the year, but it might be available in some stores. I just haven't looked for it except for the holiday.

Hog jowl doesn't sound too appetizing; nor does it always look too appetizing in its raw state. Recently, I picked up a couple of packages of sliced hog jowl that looked pretty good, so I decided to try them both.

I can recall, as a child, eating hog jowl cooked right in the pot of black-eyed peas. Hog jowl can be bought unsliced, basically as a huge ball of fatty bacon. Cooked up with black-eyed peas, it flavors the dish wonderfully but is not very appetizing to eat. Still, a cheap hog jowl (or even ham hocks) is worth getting for the purpose of flavoring, if nothing else.

This year I fried up several slices of hog jowl to try for my lucky New Year's meal. I had first bought a more expensive hickory smoked pre-sliced package of pork jowl. It was a brand name--Petit Jean. When I saw some freshly cut hog jowl from the butcher later at the local grocery store, I picked up some of that, too. It had no special seasoning and was nearly 1/3 the price of the packaged pork jowl.

The results? As you can see from the photos, the freshly cut hog jowl kept its form and didn't shrink up quite so much. The more expensive stuff shriveled and curled up. It didn't taste any better than the other, either.

Pork jowl has an interesting flavor and texture. It's really like eating just the fatty part of bacon, but it's much thicker. I wouldn't want to eat it very often, as it is very rich and fattening, which is why this pork is considered lucky. Hog jowl is a rich piece of fatty meat from a rotund pig that wants for nothing. That's the best I can explain it.

canned black eyed peas and collard greens

canned black eyed peas and collard greens

Collard greens or cabbage

Greens are easy to accept as a lucky New Year's Day food, as they are the color of money. In the south, collard greens are popular and plentiful, but other greens such as mustard greens, spinach, or even cabbage is acceptable.

Canned, frozen, or fresh greens will work as a side dish for the New Year's Day meal. Fresh greens can be cooked with a small amount of water, seasoned with salt and pepper, until tender, on the stove or in the crock pot. One of my favorites is cabbage in the slow cooker.

What do you think of these New Year's Day recipes?

Hoppin John and Pot Likker Soup

Say what? Yeah, I've lived in the south all my life, and I have never heard of these two. Hoppin' John and Pot Likker Soup? Hmmmm . . .

Well, according to Wikipedia, Hoppin John combines bacon (or other pork), rice, and onions with black-eyed peas. Greens can be served with or even mixed in with the dish. Simply Recipes has a good looking recipe for Hoppin John.

Pot Likker (don't you just love the name?) is also called Pot Liquor or Collard Liquor. It is made from the juice leftover from making collard greens. Pork and seasonings are generally added to this vitamin-rich dish. Southern Living magazine has a recipe for Pot Likker Soup


Cornbread fresh out of the oven!

Cornbread fresh out of the oven!

More New Year's Traditions

Countries all over the world have their own traditions of foods considered to be lucky. Epicurious shares six common foods that are eaten for luck on New Year's all over the world; these do include pork, legumes, and greens. Please feel free to share your own New Year's Day food traditions in the comment section below.

While I'm not a superstitious person, I do like some traditions. Hey, just in case black eyed peas, hog jowl, and collard greens do bring some luck, why not have some? I think I will.

Please pass the cornbread.

New Year's Day Southern Vegetarian Soup with black eyed peas, greens, and tomatoes . . . .

New Year's Day Meal Traditions

Please share any comments you may have:

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on November 16, 2014:

prasetio--I'm glad you like the recipe! Thanks so much!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on November 11, 2014:

Rebecca--I made some black-eyed peas in the slow cooker recently. They were so good that way! With onions and a bit of meat (some kind of ham hock that flavors it). Yum! Yeah, cornbread is always good.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on November 11, 2014:

Yes, Ann, the black-eyed peas seem to be the most common dish for New Year's. I love the other stuff with it, though! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on November 10, 2014:

Hey, Audrey, I just made blackeyed peas recently. They are AWESOME in the slow cooker! Yum! :-) Come to dinner, anytime!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on November 07, 2014:

It sound delicious. I love the recipe. I'll show this hub to my mom. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on November 07, 2014:

I just had some black-eyed peas today at lunch....missed the cornbread

Ann Hinds from So Cal on November 07, 2014:

We always have black-eyed peas and cornbread but not the rest. My mother was from the south.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on November 07, 2014:

Move over, cause I'm coming to dinner. :) I am mad for black-eyed-peas, but will skip the hog jowl (vegetarian.) Voted all the good stuff and sharing. Thanks, Victoria. Audrey

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on November 07, 2014:

LOL poetryman! The hog jowl is pretty good--in small quantities. Or maybe just cooked in the peas or flavor. :-)

poetryman6969 on November 06, 2014:

I will probably let the hog keep his jowls but I will eat the rest of him!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on May 04, 2014:

ahorseback--I guess it's hog meat/fat (yeah, mostly fat!) from the jowl, aka cheek? of the hog? It's very fatty. Sometimes I have bought it in chunks, so I get very little to each off it, but it flavors the black eyed peas great! Sometimes I can buy it in slices. When fried, it can be put in chunks to flavor the peas. You can even eat it! It's pretty rich, so not much! It's like really thick, fatty bacon. Good for a few bites, but I can't eat too much of it that way--not at once. Hey, thanks for asking! You probably got more of an answer than you wanted. LOL!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on May 03, 2014:

vocalcoach--Hog jowls are quite fatty, but, yes, great flavor. I'm not sure how you could flavor it up vegetarian-style. :-) But I'm glad you appreciated the hub, anyway. :-)

ahorseback on May 02, 2014:

Okay Victoria , Just what is Hog Jowl.......LOL

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on May 02, 2014:

I love black eyed peas - but hog jowls? But like you say, good flavor. Wondering if I can substitute something else. (I'm one of those vegetarians.) Thanks Victoria. Up, useful, awesome, interesting and sharing and pining.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on May 01, 2014:

Sunshine--The hog jowl at least gives the black eyed peas some good flavor, even if you don't eat it. :-)

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 30, 2014:

I'd have to pass on the hog jowl...but, the black eyed peas are good :)

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 06, 2014:

Patsybell--Thank you! Peace and prosperity to you as well!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 03, 2014:

Lisawilliamasj - I love pork and sauerkraut, too. That's wonderful to blend two traditions. Thanks for sharing that!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 02, 2014:

WiccanSage--Yes, hog jowl is a really thick, fatty pork. It flavors things up very well and is quite tasty. I wouldn't eat a lot of it, as it's very fatty. My guy and I like to stay in on New Year's Eve, too. I did cook him up a version of Hoppin John on NY Day with black eyed peas, hog jowl, and seasonings. We had collard greens and corn muffins, too. He loved it! Let me know if you try it!

Patsy Bell Hobson from zone 6a, SEMO on January 01, 2014:

Love your Black eyed pea hub. Voted up and useful. Peace and prosperity to you.

Lisa Chronister from Florida on December 31, 2013:

This looks so delicious! My father made this exact meal, every year, when I was growing up! My husband is from PA, so his tradition has always been pork and sauerkraut. Now we make a huge meal incorporating both traditions. We figure that we can use all the luck we can get! Thanks for sharing. I voted up.

Mackenzie Sage Wright on December 30, 2013:

I'm from NY so I've never heard of hog jowl, lol. But if it's pork and has things like beans, my husband (who is from Puerto Rico-- where beans and pork are staples) will love it. Always looking for new recipes, this looks like a good one. For New Year's Eve we traditionally order Chinese food-- lol. Very different from this hub here, but once Christmas is over we're officially all partied out on holidays and like to hole up in PJs with take-out, movies, puzzles and cards. But this looks like a good one to try for a Sunday dinner.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 29, 2013:

Thanks, Victoria! It's an interesting meal, and tasty, too!

Author Victoria Sheffield from Georgia on December 27, 2013:

Yummy that looks good!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 27, 2013:

prettynutjbo30 Glad you like the hub! Yes, we must have our black-eyed peas, if nothing else. I like your name, prettynutjob. LOL!

Mary from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet. on December 26, 2013:

Can't forget the black-eyed peas, I grew up on these and still eat them today. I can still hear my mom telling me to eat my black-eyes for good luck on New Years. I love this hub, voted up and so much more.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on August 07, 2013:

Thanks moonlake! I'm glad you did--hope you enjoy it!

moonlake from America on August 06, 2013:

I came back to pin this to my holiday board.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 03, 2013:

teaches--I kind of like the hog jowl, just not too much of it at once! Hot chocolate and muneulos sounds great, although I don't know what muneulos are. LOL. Happy New Year!!!

Dianna Mendez on January 02, 2013:

I love the foods you mentioned, I would even try the hog jowl! We make muneulos and hot chocolate on New Year's, both a Mexican tradition. Have a wonderful New Year in 2013, Victoria.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 01, 2013:

catgypsy--Tacos sound great! I'm not superstiitous, but I do like a little tradition from time to time. :-)

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 01, 2013:

T--That's too cool!!! I think I'll make some more today. I could use some good luck this year. Yummy! Can you find the stuff there to make your own?

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 01, 2013:

Jamie--It's time! Get out those black eyed peas!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 01, 2013:

always exploring--A lot of folks just opt for the black eyed peas and cornbread, leaving out the hog jowl. Whatever you do, do it well and have a happy new year!!

catgypsy from the South on December 31, 2012:

I usually make a roast or big meal, but this year we decided to do tacos! BUT I also have a can of black eyed peas that will be heated up for sure! I have to include them every year! Have a lucky and prosperous New Year!

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on December 31, 2012:

V, an ex boyfriend's mom used to make it and I LOVED it. I told my mom and she said, "My momma used to make that all the time. But your daddy don't like it so I stopped making it cuz he said black eyed peas taste like dirt. Damn yankees."

I have to say, your description of it is right on and my mouth was watering just thinking about it. *drool*

Jamie Brock from Texas on December 31, 2012:

I have always loved black eyed peas.. thanks for sharing this recipe! I think there will be some delicious black eyed peas in my very near future. voted up and useful. Happy New Year!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 31, 2012:

My family has always served black eyed peas every new year's day. ( no hog jowl ) and cornbread. Love this tradition. Thank you for sharing..Happy New Year..

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 31, 2012:

Hey, moonlake--I'm glad you can relate! Happy New Year and the best of luck to you!

moonlake from America on December 30, 2012:

I always forget to have this for New Year's Day but I think that is what I will have this year. One of my favorite foods is black eyed peas with hog jowls. I also love greens and corn bread. I need some luck. My family's southern so they always had them. My aunt reminded me last year. Voted up. Have a Happy Lucky New Year.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 30, 2012:

T, you're the first one who has eaten hog jowl! Can you find it out there between Heaven and Hell????

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on December 30, 2012:

I love slow cooked black eyed peas over cornbread. Man, V, you made me HUNGRY! I do miss hog jowl! Ok, now I gotta go to the store tomorrow and see if I can find some. :D

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 30, 2012:

Yeah, midget, I don't think that a lot of people who aren't from the south US have heard of hog jowl. Do you have traditions for New Year's? Happy New Year!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on December 30, 2012:

Interesting foods! Haven't heard of the hog jowl either. Thanks for sharing, Victoria...will share this hub and Happy New Year!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 30, 2012:

Alecia--Instead of hog jowls, you could use bacon or even pork chops or ham. I think it's cool as long as it's pork--if you eat pork. Happy New Year! Thanks for voting and sharing!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 30, 2012:

Expertscolumn--Yeah, I read something about a southern guy who was up near your area and couldn't find what he needed. He ended up finding it in a can somewhere. Regions really differ! Do you have a traditional New Year's food?

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on December 30, 2012:

This is so tasty sounding, except for hog jowls- that's one thing our family doesn't eat. Everything else is what we do every year and while it didn't sound good growing up, it's awesome now :). Voted up and shared.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 30, 2012:

Deb--I think some people do this on NY Eve, as well. Thanks for the read and comments. Happy New Year!

Stanley Soman from New York on December 30, 2012:

Never heard of hog or pork jowl, from NY very interesting article

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on December 30, 2012:

Great hub about these New Year's Day food traditions. I don't have a special meal on New Year's Day, but usually do on New Year's Eve. A couple years ago I served a black-eyed pea salad as part of the appetizer course in a nod to the old southern custom.

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