Happy New Year 2011- Black-Eyed Pea Soup Recipe
Happy New Year!! I wanted to take a moment to post my favorite Black-Eyed Pea recipe. It’s a soup that I created a few years back and that we have been enjoying year-round, as well as on New Year’s day. It’s a great meal because it’s economical, feeds a crowd, is fairly simple, versatile, and it tastes phenomenal! This was originally published on my cooking blog, The Funky Kitchen.
I’ve never been a black-eyed pea fan, but any good southerner knows that you have to eat black-eyed peas, pork, and greens for the New Year. It’s always been a tradition in my family, and it’s always been one that I wasn’t very fond of. For those of you not familiar with this tradition, in the south, people eat a meal with these foods on New Years Day for good luck. The greens symbolizes money, the peas symbolize prosperity, and the pig represents moving forward. The meal is usually accompanied by cornbread because you just can’t have greens without cornbread.
All of the black-eyed peas that I have ever eaten have been chalky, the greens bitter, and the ham is always curled up and over-cooked. About three years ago, I decided I was going to make something I could tolerate, and this soup was born. Thank goodness it was because it is devine. It is always a huge hit. It is smokey, tangy, spicy, and super comforting. This has become one of our favorite meals. I make it year round. It’s relatively easy and cheap, and it is very versitile. Did I mention how yummy it is???
– 1 lb. of dried black-eyed peas
– 2 tsp. chopped garlic
– 2 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
– 6-8 cups of chicken broth (6 for a thicker soup, 8 for a thinner soup)
– 28 oz. can of undrained diced tomatoes (I use fireroasted for more flavor)
– 1 diced onion
– 1/2 medium head celery diced into bite-sized pieces (I dice the leaves and all)
– 1 lb. pork polska keibasa or smoked sausage diced into bite sized pieces (you can use ham instead)
– 1- 9 oz bag of regular or baby spinach, or 1/2 lb washed and finely chopped mustard greens (I buy them bagged and washed)
– Cajun/creole seasoning to taste (I use Tony Chachere’s
Brand–it has salt and pepper already in it)
-Tabasco Sauce for heat (I like the chipoltle variety becasue it is nice and smokey)
– 4 slices bacon
– 2 cups cooked rice
First, soak the black-eyed peas according to package directions. It’s easiest to soak them overnight covered in cold water with a lid on, or while you are away at work. You can do a quick soak if needed. With the quick soak method, you cover the beans with about 2 inches of water (2 inches over the peas) and bring them to a boil for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover and soak for one hour. When the peas are done soaking drain them in a colander.
In a large soup pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When heated, add chopped onion and celery and cook until slightly softened (about 4 minutes.) Add the garlic and cook for no more than one minute. Add the canned tomatoes and strained peas, then add the broth. Place whole slices of bacon in pot with peas. Do not add the seasoning yet, as it will toughen the beans. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes, covered, stiring occasionally. After 45 minutes, add suausage or ham. Cook beans about 30 more minutes or until tender. You will have to test them. When they are done, fish out the bacon slices and discard. Add the greens, stir them in, and cook for 2-5 minutes or until they are wilted. Stir in rice. This is when you season the peas. With this seasoning, you just have to add about 1 tsp at a time (start with at least 2 tsp then go from there) until it tastes salty enough for you. Different people prefer different levels of salt and spice, and creole seasoning has both. Just don’t forget to wash your spoon between tastes so as not to spread germs.
As soon as it is well-seasoned, your meal is ready to eat. Serve with cornbread.
This recipe is very versatile, as you could use white beans, chicken, and Italian seasoning for an Italian style soup. You could use chorizo, pinto beans, mexican seasoning, and omit the greens for a Mexican style soup. You could really play around with this and come up with several different types of bean soup for variety.
You could make this in a crock-pot on low all day, but if you do not soak the beans first, they will split. Also, if you make it in the crockpot, add everything except for the greens, rice, and seasonings and put those in before you serve. The greens shold wilt within a few minutes if the soup is hot and you put the lid on.