Sunday, January 01, 2012

Blackeyed Pea Soup with Sausage

New Year's Day, more than any other holiday, carries a lot of superstitions with it. Taking your Christmas decorations down by January 6. Having a clean house before New Year's Day. Doing all your laundry. Making loud noises at midnight to scare off evil spirits trying to weasel their way into the new year. It goes on and on. Even the name "January" has a mythical meaning. Janus was the Roman god of transitions with two faces, one looking forward to the future and one looking back to the past. Fitting for the month of January, right?

I do not consider myself an overly superstitious person. You are not going to find me skipping cracks (love you, mom!) or changing my course to avoid a black cat (here kitty, kitty). In the South, however, it is an absolute given that you should eat black-eyed peas and some kind of greens (collards, cabbage, mustard, or kale) on New Year's Day for luck and prosperity and I do not skip it! We have eaten 'em even if it is just a nibble of  a leaf and a bite of peas from a can! I'm not sure about the origins of this superstition and I feel like Shirley McClaine in Steel Magnolias when she was asked why she grew tomatoes if she hated eating them, "I am an old Southern woman. It is my obligation to wear funny hats and grow tomatoes." I do know that with the world becoming more and more homegenized every day I do like participating in something that is regional and unique to the area I live in.

I am a lazy, lazy woman between Christmas and New Year's. I like to play with my new toys and just not do much, which is why I am often eating a spoonful peas straight from the can on New Year's Day. This year I managed to get organized enough to find this recipe. Wham! Bam! all my prosperity and good luck in one dish!

Blackeyed Pea Soup with Sausage
adapted from janedeereblog

I used a 12 ounce bag of fresh black-eyed peas for this thinking that an hour would be enough to cook them, but I think they should have cooked the whole 2-3 hours to be softer. I also love slow-stewed collards so I added them after the first hour of cooking. There are instructions on the janedeere blog to make this in the slow cooker.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 cup diced celery
1 (12 ounce) package fully cooked Andouille or smoked sausage links, chopped
10 cups chicken stock
1 (16 ounce) bag dried blackeyed peas, picked through, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Optional: 4 cups collard, mustard or kale greens, cleaned and coarsely chopped

In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions and celery until softened. Add sausage and saut̩ until heated through. Stir in garlic and saut̩ for about 30 seconds to 1 minute Рdo not brown. Add chicken stock and black-eyed peas to the pot. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to simmer. Allow to cook on low until peas are cooked, about 2 to 3 hours, adding the collard greens after the first hour. Add vinegar, red pepper flakes, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

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