Texas Pepper Jelly, Texas Rib Candy, New Year's hoppin john For those of us who live in the South, Hoppin’ John is a traditional New Year’s Day repast. For those of you who live in the North, you’ve got a real treat in store!

The origin of Hoppin’ John for New Year’s Day has many scholars arguing. Most agree that the southern laves liked to make and eat it in memory of Africa, where dishes made of beans and rice or other grains were easy to get and popular. Others say that Hoppin’ John became popular because it is so easy and economical to make, as well as delicious to eat. I’m betting that it’s really a combination of these and other things.

All we really need to know is that Hoppin’ John, complete with its folklore ( black-eyed peas for luck, etc.) IS easy to make, inexpensive, and really, really tasty. This crockpot version makes a simple recipe even easier!

Ingredients:

4 cans black-eyed peas, thoroughly drained and rinsed and drained again
4 cups chicken or turkey broth
1 package smoked sausage mini-links
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup Texas Pepper Jelly’s Pomegranate Cranberry Habanero Rib Candy
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 bunch collard greens, rinsed, drained, and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bacon grease
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
2 cups cooked quinoa, brown rice, or really any grain your family likes

What to do:

Put the drained black-eyed peas, broth, and sausage in your crockpot. Stir in all the other ingredients (except the grains) and stir thoroughly. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. I usually fill the crockpot before bedtime and let it cook all night, for lunch. For dinner, fill the slow cooker early in the morning and let it cook all day.

Serve over your grains of choice. I like to use brown rice, but my husband likes quinoa.

Happy New Year from Texas Pepper Jelly!

P.S. If there’s any left over and you serve it for supper the next day, it’s not Hoppin’ John any more. Leftover, it’s Skippin’ Jenny.