Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve...Black-Eyed Pea Soup

This recipe, born of "leftovers" and necessity last New Year's Day, will be published in the upcoming Friends of Animals cookbook. Everyone loves it. Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is a Southern tradition believed to bring good luck throughout the year.

This savory, slightly spicy soup is incredibly nutritious, and will please even a die-hard meat eater (just ask Aunt Ronnie, who loves it so much she very nearly slapped the hell out of me while extolling its virtues!). I like to make ours with tomatoes and hot sauce that I've canned over the summer, for a little local flavor during the garden-less winter months.

May 2009 bring you luck, great happiness and delicious things to eat!

Black-Eyed Pea and Winter Greens Soup
8 oz. black-eyed peas
Bouquet garni:
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
½ teaspoon whole peppercorns
2 quarts light vegetable stock
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups leeks, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
1 cup carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup celery, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup roasted, peeled and chopped red, orange or yellow bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped; divided
½ teaspoon each:
chili powder
smoked paprika
marjoram leaves
cajun seasoning
¼ cup dry white wine
2 cups peeled, diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste
4 cups greens, a mix of collards, chard, beet greens, well-washed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Soak black-eyed peas in fresh, cold water to cover for eight hours, or use the “quick soak” method: bring beans and water to cover to a boil, cook 10 minutes, remove from heat and soak for one hour. Drain and rinse beans.

Place beans in a large stockpot with bouquet garni and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer; cook for 45 minutes, or until beans are almost tender. Salt lightly after 30 minutes. (Note: beans cook with many variables, including how long you soaked them and how long they've been stored - taste to know if they are done.)

Meanwhile, heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add leeks, carrots, celery, peppers and 2 cloves garlic. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add spices; cook an additional 5 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper. Deglaze pan with white wine and set aside.

When beans are nearly cooked, add vegetable mixture, tomatoes and hot sauce to stock pot, along with enough water to cover bean and vegetable mixture. Season with a little salt. Continue to simmer as you prepare the greens.

Wipe sauté pan clean, and heat remaining 1½ tablespoons olive oil. Add remaining clove of garlic, and sauté lightly for about 1 minute – do not allow garlic to brown! Add greens all at once with another pinch of salt, and cook over medium-high heat until greens are softened and release liquid. Using tongs, remove greens and add to soup. Discard liquid in pan.

Simmer soup for an additional 15 minutes, or until all ingredients are cooked through. Add lemon juice and parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary – salt, pepper, hot sauce, or a little more lemon juice.

This soup tastes best when it has rested overnight in your refrigerator, doubles or triples easily to feed a crowd, and freezes wonderfully…Enjoy!

Serves 6
Recipe courtesy of Trish Sebben-Krupka, 2008