Thursday, January 2, 2014

Smoky Ham & Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Happy New Year! Here's hoping 2014 is wonderful to all of y'all! As you all probably already know, here in the South we have many traditions that revolve around food. This is definitely the case for New Year's Day, too! In previous years, I've posted about collard greens (plain, or jazzed up with lentils), turnip greens, country ham, black-eyed peas and Hoppin' John. Each year, I try to prepare these traditional foods a little differently, though it's hard to beat the classics!

This year, I decided to make turnip greens instead of the usual collard greens; along with a hearty soup filled with ham and black-eyed peas. With a pan of hot, crusty cornbread, this was the perfect way to ring in 2014! 

Smoky Ham & Black-Eyed Pea Soup
adapted from The Daring Gourmet

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts chicken stock
1 lb dried black-eyed peas
2 smoked ham hocks
2 bay leaves
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Saute until tender, about 4-5 minutes. 

Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. 

Add the chicken stock, black eyed peas and ham hocks. 

Add the bay leaves, salt, peppers (black and cayenne), paprikas (sweet and smoked), onion powder, oregano and thyme. Bring to a boil. 

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the ham hock and black-eyed peas are tender. 

Remove the ham hock and pick the meat off of the bone, tearing it into small pieces. Return the meat to the soup and discard the bone. Return the soup to a boil and serve hot.

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