DSC05479-2This black eyed pea soup appeared one noon when I just wanted something real to eat…something warm and filling, but not fattening.  Contrary to common opinions or the instructions on the package, black eyed peas do not have to soak, nor do they take two hours to cook.   Took about an hour cooking time plus prep.   Perfect for a lucky New Year’s Day when you’re too tired to cook much.  Or hungover and in need of healthy, filling food.  Want corn bread?  I include my favorite recipe at the bottom of the post. Don’t forget to dunk.

Here’s the soup almost done…letting spinach wane a bit.


Black Eyed Pea Soup w/ Yellow Pepper-Parsley Salsa 

makes 8 big servings 

2 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas (approximately one pound)
8 cups chicken stock, divided (low-sodium)  Use vegetable stock for vegan/vegetarian option
2 cups water
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 smoked pork chops, chopped (put the bone in, too) or 2 cups chopped ham.  Leave out meat for vegan/vegetarian option
2 tsp dried thyme or 1 bay leaf  (You could go another route with some curry or some cumin here.)
1/2 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeño (no seeds or membranes), finely minced and/or several drops of hot sauce

1/4 c rice, uncooked
1 each chopped carrot and celery

1 cup chopped fresh spinach or kale, optional


Yellow Pepper Salsa:  Mix together 2/3 c chopped yellow pepper with 4 minced green onions, 2 small chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup chopped parsley

  1. In a colander, rinse peas and pick through.  Toss oddly colored or shaped peas and stones.
  2. Add peas, 6 cups chicken stock, water, garlic, pork, thyme or bay, salt, pepper and hot sauce to a 8 or 10-quart stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn down a little, but leave at a slowly-rolling boil about 45 minutes until peas are beginning to be tender.
  3. Add rice, carrot and celery, and the rest of the chicken stock.  Also add a little water, if needed, to assure all ingredients are able to boil and move freely in the liquids.  Return to a slow boil and cook until all elements are tender.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove pork chop bone if you’ve used it.  Add chopped spinach, if using, and let cook another minute.  Ladle into bowls and top with a spoonful of the Yellow Pepper Parsley Salsa (or another salsa, if you prefer)

Quick Option:  Use canned (drained) black-eyed peas. Try to find unsalted peas.  Cook the other vegetables and spices in the broth until tender and add the canned peas after that.

Cook’s Note:  Add a gorgeous hunk of corn bread; you’ll be glad you did:

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 alyce’s black pepper corn bread–makes one 9″inch cast iron pan  (can use 9″ baking pan if necessary)              8-10 servings
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If you like a less crunchy cornbread, use 3/4 cup cornmeal to 1 1/4 cups flour or 1 cup cornmeal and 1 cup flour for a bread in the middle.
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5 tablespoons butter, divided  (1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons for batter; 1 tablespoon to grease pan)*
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups white or yellow cornmeal

3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

1/3 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons grated or finely minced onion

  1. Pre heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit .  Place rack at center.
  2.  Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and set aside to cool.
  3. Heat a 9″ cast iron skillet (23 cm Le Creuset) on the stove top over low flame with  the tablespoon of remaining butter.   (If using a baking pan, simply grease the pan.)  Tilt and tip skillet from side to side to coat the entire pan with a film of butter or use a brush.  Remove from heat if butter begins to burn.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk,  and reserved melted butter.  Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, mix well the dry ingredients (cornmeal – pepper).  Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and mix until just barely combined. Stir in cheese, if using, and onion.
  6. Pour batter into hot skillet or greased pan. I let the pan sit there a minute or two.  Using hot pad for skillet, carefully move skillet to oven center rack.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until bread is golden brown with crispy edges and a toothpick inserted at center comes out clean or nearly.  Serve hot with honey and butter.   Wrap leftovers carefully and store at room temperature for one-two days or up to one week in the refrigerator.  (Good crumbled in milk for breakfast.)

*Can use 1/4 cup canola oil in place of melted butter. I still prefer to grease the pan with butter, but if you choose to spray with PAM, heat the pan very briefly before adding batter.

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Happy New Year from a clean Tucker and Rosie!

Sing a new song,

Alyce

(originally posted on my cooking for one or more blog:  dinnerplace.blogspot.com and also published in my cookbook:  SOUPS & SIDES FOR EVERY SEASON.

Hunger in our country is an on-going problem made worse by serious cuts in SNAP (food stamps program.)  Read this article for information on the current crisis–here particularly in NYC — and consider local options for helping feed our people.