Why are Black Eyed Peas especially lucky for New Year’s Day? Maybe because they taste so wonderfully earthy-good….but if you look it up:
Black eyed peas were considered to be animal food during the 19th century and so…
“The peas were not worthy of General Sherman’s Union troops. When Union soldiers raided the Confederates food supplies, legend says they took everything except the peas and salted pork. The Confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with those meager supplies, and survived the winter. Peas became symbolic of luck.”
…or maybe relying a little more on family to cook as I’ve been nursing a cold. Of course I baked the Christmas pie, which while a tad messy, tasted all the better for it.
It’s always interesting to cook away from home. No pastry cutter or food processor; I made the pastry for the pie using a handled, fluted cookie cutter. Necessity is the mother of invention.
But now it’s nearly time to move on to New Year’s, and I hope you’ll enjoy a big bowl of my Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Country Sausage and Cabbage. I first posted this a year ago and love it so much I’m sharing it again. Right after we celebrate New Year’s Day, Dave and I’ll fly home to begin a quiet week watching the evening tree lights at home until January 6, Epiphany. I’ll keep you posted and will meanwhile hope that your December has been all you needed it to be.
Thanks so much for spending more time at the table in 2017. I look forward to cooking all through 2018 with you!
BLACK-EYED PEA SOUP WITH COUNTRY SAUSAGE AND CABBAGE, garnished with green peppers and scallions
Don’t have the ham hock or a ham bone? You can make this soup with just the country (breakfast) sausage or even some sliced kielbasa. If you have only a piece or two of bacon, chop and add it with the peas as they cook; the soup will be luscious. Short on time? Chop the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic all together in a food processor.
- 1 pound dry black-eyed peas, rinsed well and picked over–Soaked all night or quickly prepped by boiling for 2 minutes and letting sit for 1 hour*
- 8 cups chicken broth (can sub vegetable broth)
- 4 cups water (or more as needed to keep the soup brothy)
- 1 smoked ham hock or shank (can sub a regular ham bone, 1-2 cups chopped smoked ham or 2 smoked pork chops)
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- Handful fresh chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper–or to taste
- A few drops hot sauce –or to taste
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 pound country breakfast sausage, cooked through and drained (such as regular or hot Jimmy Dean’s, any turkey breakfast sausage, or make your own using one of my recipes)
- 1/2 large green pepper, minced (can instead use red pepper or a combination)
- 2 scallions–green onions (white and green parts), minced
- Add first 10 ingredients (black-eye peas – hot sauce) to a 10-quart heavy soup pot along with half of the onions, celery, carrot, and garlic. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a healthy simmer and cook 30-40 minutes until peas are softening.
- Add remainder of onions, celery, carrot, and garlic to pot along with the cabbage and cooked breakfast sausage. Bring back to a boil, lower heat to simmer, and cook until all of the vegetables are tender–at least another 30 minutes. Everything should float freely in the broth; if it’s too thick, add more chicken/vegetable broth or water.
- Remove smoked ham hock or ham bone. Let cool briefly and carefully slice off all of the meat, discarding bones and gristle. Chop smoked meat and stir back into the soup. Let simmer 2 or 3 minutes, stirring. Taste and adjust seasonings, including hot sauce. Serve hot topped with minced green pepper and green onions for garnish. Pass hot sauce at table.
Cool completely and cover to store in refrigerator 3-4 days. Freeze at 0 degrees Fahrenheit in covered air-tight containers or freezer bags for 4-6 months.
*You can skip the soaking and or boiling/let sit for an hour if you cook the beans longer. Legend has it, however, that the soaking or boiling/let sit makes the beans cook more evenly and also helps eliminate gas later on. (If you eat legumes several times a week, the gas is supposedly less of an issue.)
Gilding that lily:
- Serve over a small scoop of white rice well-seasoned with butter, salt, and black pepper.
2. Serve with hot buttered cornbread.
See you next year,