I grew up eating black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year’s day, but wishing for good luck and prosperity are not the only reasons to try this recipe. It’s simple, substantial, and flavorful. You can also make it with fresh or frozen vegetables. I made this batch with celeriac from the freezer, frozen bell peppers, and canned tomatoes. Black-eyed peas pair well with cornbread and collard greens.
You’ll need to pre-soak the dried beans, which you can do one of two ways —overnight before you plan to cook them or by doing a “quick-soak” the same day which takes about an hour.
You’ll chop the vegetables and mix up the seasoning in a cup. Then you’ll combine all the ingredients and simmer for about an hour. Partially mashing the beans at the end is optional; it changes the texture slightly and imparts some creaminess to the broth. I usually mash it a little.
1 lb dried black-eyed peas
3 T olive oil
8 cups cold water
1½ cups onions, diced
3 stalks of celery (or 1 cup celeriac), diced
1½ cups green and red bell peppers (or multi-color), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes with juices
1 T molasses
1 T balsamic vinegar
⅛ tsp ground cayenne pepper
¼ tsp celery salt
2 tsp salt
sriracha sauce or hot sauce of your choice
fresh ground pepper and additional salt to taste
Wash and dice vegetables.
In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the vegetables and sauté until tender and warm.
Add the pre-soaked beans and 8 cups of water and bring to a gentle boil.
While the soup is heating, mix up the seasonings in a cup and blend thoroughly. Add the seasoning mixture and the diced tomatoes to the pot.
When the soup comes to a boil, reduce heat and gently simmer uncovered for about an hour, or until the beans are tender.
If you’d like to make the broth creamier, use a potato masher to partially mash some of the beans.
Taste, and add a touch more salt if needed (perhaps ½ tsp) and fresh ground pepper, but don’t overdo it as the soup becomes more flavorful as it cools. If you think the soup still needs a lift, add a small pinch of additional cayenne pepper.
Serve with hot sauce and chopped scallions (optional).