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The Weekend Chef

Lucky black-eyed pea soup for the New Year

Posted 4:14pm on Thursday, Apr. 12, 2012

Eating black-eyed peas for luck and prosperity on New Year’s Day is a Southern tradition. But you don’t want to start 2012 with bland peas.

So spice things up with this black-eyed pea soup with smoked sausage and jalapeno chilies. I usually fix this on New Year's Eve, after the ball drops in my slow cooker. That way the black-eyed peas are ready when you first get up.

I also like putting a couple of pieces of kombu (kelp seaweed) in with the peas when cooking. Kombu has enzymes that break down the indigestible sugars in beans, making them softer and easier to digest. It also enhances the flavor and adds minerals. You can find it in the Asian food aisle in supermarkets or at Asian markets.

Black-eyed Pea soup

  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed (do not soak)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 8 ounces diced hog jowl (can substitute bacon)
  • 12 ounces sliced smoke sausage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 red jalapeno or red Fresno chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 2 pieces (3 to 4 inches) kombu (optional)
  • Salt, to taste

In frying pan, brown and render diced hog jowls. (My slow cooker insert can be heated like a frying pan, so I just use the insert.)

Once you have some fat rendering, add sliced smoke sausage and brown.

Once brown, remove hog jowls and sausage, set aside and add diced onions to the pan.

Stir onions in pan, when they start to get translucent add garlic and half the minced peppers. Save the rest of the minced peppers for garnish.

Stir for a couple of minutes and then transfer to the slow cooker.

Add hog jowls and sausage to slow cooker.

Add black eyed-peas, chicken stock, cumin, chili powder and black pepper to slow cooker. Do not salt.

Stir, add kombu (optional). You can pull it out after it has been in there a couple of hours or you can leave it in and it will dissolve.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or till tender.

Salt to taste.

When serving, garnish with minced peppers.

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