Tomorrow is the very last day of 2013. I can’t believe it’s already over. So much has happened and now we’re in Thailand waiting to ring in the new year. Did you know that its a tradition in parts of the U.S. to eat black eyed peas for the New Year? It’s supposed to be lucky, and I even read that you should eat one black eyed pea for each day of the coming year – that’s 365 black eyed peas unless it’s going to be a leap year and in that case it would be 366 black eyed peas. So what’s the best way to make sure you eat all those black eye peas? In a soup, of course.
This version of black eyed pea soup is the simplest you can make – with a base of chicken broth, just a hint of tomato paste and your basic soup vegetables (carrot, celery and onion). I added a little chili powder to give a flavor kick. It’s just enough seasoning to bring out the natural nutty flavor of the black eyed peas.
I used dried black eyed peas for this soup, which makes the soup really budget friendly. But here’s the thing about dried beans – they are all a little different. You may need to simmer yours longer to make them soft, and that may require a little extra water. If your liquid is almost completely absorbed and you find that your black eyed peas are still not soft, add a little more water and continue simmering until they are. I like my soup nice and thick, so I continued to simmer mine until there was barely any broth left, but you might not like yours like that. That’s the best thing about soups – you don’t need to follow the recipe exactly. Make it your own, and do what you want. If you do want a nice, thick soup, you may need to stir more often as you’re nearing the end of the simmer time to prevent the thickened soup from sticking.
Happy New Year!
New Year's Black Eyed Pea Soup
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 10 minutes
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, sliced
1 large or 2 small onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 cups water
2 tablespoons chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
- In a large stockpot, heat olive oil to medium-high.
- Saute carrots, celery and onion until the onions are slightly translucent - about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables.
- Add black eyed peas, broth and chili powder.
- Cover and bring liquid to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until black eyed peas are soft and broth is creamy.
- Adjust seasonings if necessary and remove bay leaves before serving.