New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Black eyed pea soup simmering

Black eyed pea soup simmering

If you live in the south, you probably have some sort of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. These little peas are supposed to bring you good luck in the coming year. Legend has it that this tradition comes from the Civil War era when the Northern army didn’t burn the fields of peas as they swept through the South.

I hope you don’t just eat these peas on New Year’s Day because they are really good and should eat them year-round. I have another recipe for black-eyed pea soup but it’s a lot more complicated. For this one, I wanted to make a soup with less steps and just a lot easier to make. I basically start with our favorite soffritto mixture of onion, garlic, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Yes, these are more items than in a traditional soffritto but we like the flavors.

As for the meat in this dish, we happened to find a spiral sliced ham at our local HEB grocery store that was on sale after Christmas so we had to get it. We parted the ham up and used the bone from the ham. The last half or so of the ham wasn’t sliced so we cut up these pieces into bite sized chunks and used these. Without this ham, I would have used sausage and some bacon.

Now, let’s talk about spicy, as in heat. We like it hot! I think a spicy soup is perfect all year round, but especially on a cold winter day (like New Year’s Day). Therefore, we put in 2 jalapenos and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. You can definitely cut back or even eliminate both ingredients if you don’t want it spicy. However, I’d at least put in 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. we buy jalapenos by the dozen and grow our own during the summer so we always have plenty on hand.

To start, get all your vegetables ready.

Vegetables for the soffritto to go into the black eyed pea soup.

Vegetables for the soffritto to go into the black-eyed pea soup.

Cook your vegetables in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.

Vegetable cooking for black eyed pea soup.

Vegetable cooking for black-eyed pea soup.

Once cooked, add your black-eyed peas, liquid, ham bone and ham chunks.

Black eyed pea soup starting to cook.

Black-eyed pea soup starting to cook.

Let it simmer for a couple of hours and then it’s ready for you and your family!

Black eyed pea soup simmering

Black-eyed pea soup simmering

It’s become our tradition to make a black-eyed pea soup on New Year’s Day afternoon while we’re watching college bowl games.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound package of black-eyed peas, sorted and soaked overnight
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (you can cut back on this if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 cup ham pieces
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (reduce the amount if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

The night before you want to make this, rinse your black-eyed peas and then place in a large pot and cover with an inch of water.

The next day, drain your peas and rinse them again in a colander to get out any remaining grit from the peas. They should have swelled up over night.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat and then put in your onions. After 2 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. Next, add the carrots, celery, bell peppers and jalapenos. Stir well and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the other vegetables are tender.

Add your beans and chicken broth and water. Then add your ham bone and ham pieces.  Next add the cumin, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce. If all your ingredients aren’t covered with the broth and water, add additional water until fully covered. Then bring to a boil. After it starts boiling, reduce your heat to low, put the lid on your Dutch oven, and allow the pot to simmer for at least 2 hours, until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. If the water starts to evaporate to the point that it no longer covers the peas, simply add enough water to the pot to cover the peas while they simmer.

Happy New Years!

I love traditions, especially ones that involve food! This year, we did the same thing as last year (all most previous years) by making my favorite Black-Eyed Pea Soup. I like the soup better than just plain peas, plus, we add a lot of meat to it. This year we added 1 lb of beer braut German sausage and about 6 slices of bacon. We also used a handful of peppers from our last batch of peppers we picked on our plants before we cut them down. They were all very small and a mix of jalapeno, poblano and serrano peppers.

New Year Day black-eyed pea soup

New Years Day black-eyed pea soup

We also tried something new today – baking cookies from scratch. Curt found some whole-wheat pastry flour at the store and was going crazy waiting to find something to do with it. Well, he ended up making Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies. They turned out really good, especially for a first attempt.

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

In the newness category, we also made homemade biscuits from scratch. I know, this isn’t anything special, but it was both of ours first attempt at biscuits from scratch. I’ve only made them from the pre-made rolls that you buy in the store. It was easier than we thought so we made two batches. The first is a buttermilk biscuit and the second was the standard regular biscuit recipe on the flour package.

Homemade biscuits, buttermilk on the left, regular milk on the right.

Homemade biscuits, buttermilk on the left, regular milk on the right.

I hope you have a great new year and aren’t afraid to try new things but still hold true to the traditions that make you who you are.

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Black-eyed peas are traditionally eaten for good luck on New Years Day in the Southern US. I also think they are great any time of the year. I haven’t tried it but I think you could substitute 2 cans of black-eyed peas for the fresh ones.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed, picked over and soaked overnight
  • 6 cups water, or more as needed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chop half and cut the other half into chuncks
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded and diced (if desired)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound sausage (any type), cut into cubes
  • 1 14oz can of chicken broth
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped the leaves and stems
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

Soaked black eyed peas

Drain the peas and rinse under cold running water. In a large soup pot, combine the peas with the water and bring to a boil, skimming and discarding any scum that rises to the top.Add the 1/2 onion that you cut into chunks and 2 of the garlic cloves. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the beans are tender but not falling apart: check occasionally and add water if necessary to keep the beans covered.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the remaining onions and salt and pepper to taste and cook 6 to 8 minutes, until carmelized.

Add the green bell pepper and jalapeno peppers (if desired) and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.

Add the remaining garlic and sausage and cook about 5-10 minutes, until the sausage is brown.

Stir in the cooked peas, chicken broth, cilantro, cumin, oregano, coriander and ginger.  If you want it a little spicier, you can add a dash of cayenne pepper, chili pepper or some Cajun spice. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you want the soup thicker you can either leave uncovered while you simmer or add corn starch.
Black eyed pea soup

Serve this alone or over steamed rice. It is also really good with cornbread!

This is an original recipe from Brian which is partly based on the Black Bean Chili.