So how did 2012 treat you? Mine was just swell, thanks for asking. (And yours? Do tell!) Should credit be given to this lovely little soup that I cooked up for New Years a year ago? Maybe! You see, by southern tradition, black-eyed peas bring "good fortune" to the new year and greens – any green, that's collard greens, turnip greens, kale, chard, etc – bring "financial success".
And no bitter medicine, this soup. It really hits a sweet spot with just a tiny touch of underlying heat. It's a vegan soup, though no one will likely notice. On the other hand, a little ham or bacon wouldn't hurt here (Note to Vegetarians). Meat isn't needed, mind you, but it would just add a protein component and calories that might especially satisfy, say, the menfolk at the table.
DO BLACK-EYED PEAS NEED TO SOAK BEFORE GETTING COOKED? Great news, they don't! So this soup is easy to make right now, ASAP. You might even have all the ingredients on hand!
RECIPE for NEW YEAR's SOUP with BLACK-EYED PEAS & COLLARD GREENS
Time to table: 90 minutes
Makes 7 cups
1 cup (160g/5.7oz) dried black-eyed peas, rinsed under running water
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
about 3 cups water, enough to cover by 2 inches
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped in large pieces
2 ribs celery, chopped in large pieces
2 carrots, peeled and chopped in large pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped in large pieces
15 ounces canned diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Sprinkle cayenne pepper
2 large collard green leaves, rinsed well, heavy stems cut away and discarded, leaves cut into 1 inch squares (about 3 ounces/1 cup squares)
Cooked black-eyed peas including the cooking water
3 cups water
COOK BLACK-EYED PEAS In a medium saucepan, combine black-eyed peas, bay leaves, garlic and water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes or until the peas are "almost but not fully cooked" – they'll finish cooking with the soup. Add salt and cook another 5 minutes.
MAKE THE SOUP While the black-eyed peas cook, in a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until shimmery. Stir in onion, celery, carrots and bell pepper as they are prepped, stirring to coat with fat with each addition and stirring occasionally as well. When the vegetables are almost cooked, stir in the tomatoes, thyme, pepper and cayenne and bring to a boil. Stir in collard green leaves, cook for 1 minute. Stir in cooked black-eyed peas and their cooking water, then 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the black-eyed peas are fully cooked and the vegetables cooked but still firm.
TO SERVE Serve immediately, this soup needs no time for the flavors to meld.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
SALT TIMING I've never experimented with this but was intrigued by the instructions to cook with black-eyed peas without salt for 25 minutes, then to add what seems like quite a lot of salt (it's enough for the peas plus the entire pot of soup so really isn't so much) and cook for another 5 minutes. I think – does anyone know for sure? – that the idea here is to leave the salt out at first to prevent the beans from getting tough, then adding it late because really, dried beans and peas really do need a good quotient of salt.
TIMING At first, I thought the soup was "done" when everything was combined, before cooking for 30 minutes. But it wasn't, really, that 30 minutes made all the difference in flavors and reaching the right consistency.
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LUCKY for NEW YEAR's:
MORE FAVORITE RECIPES for BLACK-EYED PEAS & COLLARDS
~ Braised Collard Greens ~
~ New Year's Turnip Greens ~
~ Summer Black-Eyed Pea Salad ~
(really a year-round salad that just tastes like summer)
~ Hoppin' John Soup ~
~ more recipes with beans, lentils & other legumes ~
~ more recipes for leafy greens ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad ~
~ Lucky Black-eyed Pea Soup ~
~ more New Year's recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
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