Sunday, January 3, 2010

Black-eyed Pea Soup for New Year's

Anyone who reads my blog knows I love to make soup. It's a satisfying and cozy way to spend time in the kitchen. This hearty, filling soup was no exception. I made it by combining several recipes and served it with cornbread slathered in butter and honey. It was a great meal and a wonderful way to start the new year. I like the way 2010 sounds. It has a nice ring to it, deep and full-bodied like a good wine!


Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day brings good luck for the new year!
1 (16-ounce) bag black-eyed peas
2 cups diced smoked lean ham
1 large onion, chopped
1 bag matchstick carrots
3 garlic cloves, minced
48 oz low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1 can Rotel tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 bag fresh spinach
One package of dried peas is about 2 cups (4 cups soaked). Rinse peas in large pot. Sort out any hard or misshapen peas, or anything that looks like it doesn’t belong. Bad peas usually float to the top. Cover peas with water. Let stand overnight (at least 8 hours). Drain soak water, rinse peas in fresh cold water. Add 6 cups of hot water (or enough to cover the top of the peas). Add ham. Cover peas. Simmer gently with lid tilted until desired tenderness is reached (1 1/2 - 2 hours). Skim off foam.
Saute garlic, onion and carrots over medium heat until vegetables are tender. Add to black-eyed peas and ham mixture; bring mixture to a boil. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, black pepper, red pepper, oregano and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer. Stir in spinach. Remove bay leaf. Serve with grated cheddar cheese and cornbread.

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