On New Year’s Day, I leave nothing to fate. I always serve big helpings of traditional Southern dishes that are said to bring good fortune.
Two of my family’s favorites are black-eyed peas and greens. The black-eyed peas bring good luck and, since they look like money, the greens are said to bring prosperity.
Since I can use good luck and good fortune any time, I decided to combine these two ingredients into one dish that can be enjoyed on New Year’s Day — black-eyed pea and collard green soup. It’s so tasty, you will want to make it year-round.
This soup pairs these lucky foods with vegetables and smoky bacon for a dish that is hearty and satisfying.
My full recipe is below, but here are a few tips to make it foolproof.
You can start this soup with dried peas, but I prefer the ease and convenience of canned peas. Canned peas require no advance soaking and cook quickly.
For New Year’s, I traditionally put collard greens into the soup. I don’t want to mess with my luck! But during the rest of the year, I sometimes substitute kale.
A can of diced tomatoes adds flavor and color to the dish. You can always use the classic diced tomato variety, but I suggest you grab a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes — these really add a delicious depth of flavor to this recipe.
And to spice it up a bit? Add a dash of hot sauce just before serving.
While this simple yet satisfying soup should improve your odds for the New Year, it’s guaranteed to make your belly happy. Serve it with some skillet cornbread on the side.
Happy New Year!
Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
3 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 can (14.5-oz.) diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
2 cans (15-oz.) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch collard greens, tough stems and ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the bacon in a large stockpot and cook over medium heat until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, peas, and collard greens and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and simmer until the collard greens are tender and the flavors have melded, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm.
Cooking Tip: For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and sauté the vegetables in olive oil instead.
From “The Southern Pantry Cookbook” by Jennifer Chandler.