(I am posting two New Year’s recipes today. The earlier, the trotters, was actually made last August. The black eyed pea and collard soup was made yesterday, and is following that earlier recipe within a few hours. And, here it is! DO enjoy either or both.)
I was born in Kentucky, but we never grew up with most of the southern cooking items, at least when the folks were cooking at home. Grandmother made mean cheesy grits, and that’s on my list to re-create some day – but Dad hated grits as well as oatmeal, plus finding corn grits to cook around in the Northeast (where we moved when I was two years old) wasn’t happening. I don’t think black eyed peas or collard greens were common for sale up here then, either. Maybe lack of availability of so many Southern staples up here in the north was the reason we didn’t see or eat much of them in my formative growing years? Ya think?
Anyhow, eating the black eyed peas on New Years Day is supposed to bring luck, collards are the color of money here in the US, at least until the mint changed the colors of bills recently; and so are indicated for financial success or at the very least, financial solvency. Superstition? Can’t hurt!
Black eyed peas: For this dish, I went to several groceries up this way in western Massachusetts, and they aren’t to be found. Last weekend, on a trip to my old digs in Connecticut, I discovered that one grocery also lacked them, but that the Mexican grocery had both canned and dried black eyed peas. I decided the dried package would have just the peas and no additives, while the canned had additional ingredients (both were Goya brand). Dried it was. (I know there is a regular and much loved supermarket, Shop-Rite, that in the past had black eyed peas, but that was a little out of my way that day, considering I had a LOT to do…) BTW, these beans (the “peas” are really beans) hail from west Africa. So an African culinary heritage belongs here.
You can order them on line. I’d just simply assumed I’d find them in person in any grocery large enough to carry a good line of beans, as I’d done in previous years.
I do soak and rinse the beans. A healthy tidbit I’ve learned from the Weston A. Price folk. This removes many of the anti-nutrients in hard beans. It should also help minimize, ahem, gas…
A note or three for vegetarians or vegans: Leave out the bacon, and I’d substitute with tempeh. Tempeh has more hardiness than tofu to stand up to the rest of the dish. Slice thin, marinate briefly with a soy sauce, pan fry and add when you’d otherwise add the bacon. Instead of using bacon fat for frying the tempeh and then the onion, use a healthy cooking oil – high temp avocado oil or grapeseed oil, for instance. And yes, sub the veggie broth in for the chicken broth, low sodium once again. Also, there’s nothing wrong with leaving out both bacon AND/OR tempeh.
Prep Time: Soak 12-24 hours + 15 minutes
Cook Time:1.5 hours
Rest Time: Up to you.
Serves: 4-6 as a main.
Cuisine: Southeastern US Soul Food
Leftovers: Yes. They’ll thicken. Dilute with a little water if needed.
Black Eyed Peas and Collards Soup (or Stew)
- 1/2 pounds / 225 grams dried black eyed peas.
- 4 cups / 9.45 liters low sodium chicken or veggie broth, boxed. (If you have home-made of either, go for it.)
- 1/2 pounds / 225 grams bacon.
- 1 medium/large onion, coarsely diced.
- 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste.
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne pepper (start with quarter a teaspoon and taste later, before adding any of the rest).
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 green bell pepper, de-stemmed and de-seeded, then chopped.
- 10 ounces / 250 grams collard greens, de-stemmed and roughly chopped or shredded. Cut out the tough vein that goes up through the center of most of the leaf.
- Salt as desired.
- An optional dab of sour cream when serving, as a garnish.
Soak the back eyed peas in water to cover for 12-24 hours.
Drain, fully rinse.
Put the peas into the pot you plan to cook this dish in, and add 3 cups of broth.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet to crispy, but not blackened. Set aside on a paper towel, and when cool, roughly crumble. Put in fridge for now.
Remove most of the bacon fat from the skillet, leaving about 1 tablespoon. Add the onion, and sauté until lightly browned. Add the finished onion to the pot with the peas.
Add in the garlic, tomato paste, and all spices (reserving some of the chipotle/cayenne so you don’t overdo the heat of the dish).
Bring to a boil, then a gentle simmer. Cover, simmer for 55-60 minutes. Taste the beans to verify they are essentially cooked through.
When the beans are soft, add the bacon, collard greens, bell pepper.
Simmer another half hour, lid on. If the soup is not liquid enough, add some more broth or just water, until you are satisfied. IF too liquid, cook a bit longer with the lid off. Taste to verify that the collards are ready, and that the chipotle/cayenne is to your satisfaction – add more if desired. Also, taste for salt and adjust if needed.
Stir. Ladle into bowls. Drop a dab or so of sour cream on individual servings, if desired. Enjoy!
Leftovers will solidify more in the fridge, just add more water before re-heating… or enjoy as a stew.
While I am posting this now, and made this dish on December 27th, I will be saving a little for January 1st. Luck is never to be derided!
Also, shared with What’s For Dinner? Sunday Link-Up.
Yummers to all!