Traditional Hoppin’ John is modified into a delicious Collard Soup for New Year’s.
Heat oil in a stockpot and over medium heat and sauté onion, carrots, celery, ham, pepper flakes, thyme leaves and bay leaves for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
Add collards, chicken broth, water and sugar to the pot and return to a boil. Stir collards down into the boiling liquid, cover, reduce heat to low and boil gently for 30 minutes.
Drain peas and place one can of peas in a wide, flat bowl or on a large plate. Mash with a fork, or with a potato masher. Add both mashed and whole peas to the pot, and boil gently, covered, for another 20 minutes.
Stir in vinegar and season with freshly ground pepper if needed.
To serve, put a small scoop of cooked rice in the bottom of each soup bowl, and ladle soup over it.