Black-eyed peas. A staple in Southern cuisine, soul food in particular. Originating in West Africa 5000 years ago and brought to the American colonies in the 17th century, black-eyed peas are rich in history and have long been thought to bring good luck. A Southern tradition is to eat them on New Year’s Day to bring prosperity in the new year. In similar fashion, black-eyed peas are traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.
Now whether these curious little beans actually bring good luck or not, one thing is certain: They’re delicious! And they’re featured in this smoky soup that will warm both your tummy and your soul.
I love Autumn. I love the colors, the smell of damp leaves clustered on the ground, the serenity that seems to fill the air, and I love the cool weather that makes coming home to a bowl of hot soup such a comforting thing.
This Smoky Black-eyed Pea and Ham Soup, with its of touch of Southern flair, it’s creamy texture and deeply rich flavor, will become a favorite in your home.
Quick and easy to assemble, the Dutch oven does the rest, slowly simmering the soup for 3 hours to ensure optimal flavor.
And don’t forget the perfect cornbread to go with it: Delicious Quinoa Cornbread. Traditional flavor, but with added benefits!
Let’s get started!
Chop the onions, green bell pepper, celery, and mince the garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (I use and love Lodge) over medium heat, add the veggies and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and saute for another minute.
While the veggies are cooking, measure out your beans (of course you can do this in advance – I’m just too lazy to switch the pictures), rinse them and pick through them to remove any stones.
Add the beans and ham hock to the Dutch oven. I threw in an extra pork neck bone for added flavor (optional).
Add the stock, bay leaves and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 1/2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans and ham hock are very tender.
Remove the ham hock, pick the meat off and tear into small pieces. Discard the bones and return the meat to the soup. Return the soup to a brief boil.
Serve garnished with fresh chopped chives. Enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 1 large stalk celery, diced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through for stones
- 1 large smoked ham hock
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Fresh chives, chopped for garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and celery and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
- Add the black-eyed peas, ham hock, chicken stock, bay leaves and spices and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2½-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the peas and ham hock are very tender.
- Remove the ham hock and pick the meat off the bones, tearing it into small pieces. Discard the bones and return the meat to the soup. Return the soup to a boil and serve hot, garnished with the fresh chopped chives.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse