Pass the Peas, Plea$e

Written by Karen on December 30th, 2008

OK, so they’re not exactly peas – they’re actually legumes – but even in Wikipedia I can’t find out why.  I then went to my ‘bean bible’ – Steve Sando’s “Heirloom Beans”, again to no avail.  (Steve told me he only grows new world beans, and these are from Africa.) Nonetheless, black eyed peas are prepared as a New Year’s Day tradition to ensure prosperity in the coming year.  Paired with leafy greens such as collards, you have the addition of  ‘rolled money.’  “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold,” says an old expression. I’m all for putting my money on such a combination – especially with the extra health properties they provide, mindful again of our liver.

Eating Well offers up a hearty soup recipe, where antioxidant and calcium-rich collard greens and fiber-packed black-eyed peas have a starring role. Legumes are also a great source of low-fat protein so there’s no need for loads of ham or salt pork.  A small amount of bacon lends a wonderful smoky flavor.  Or, you can skip the bacon and substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth for a delicious vegetarian dish.

Black Eyed Pea Soup with Greens
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
5 cloves garlic (4 sliced and 1 whole), divided
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
4 cups reduced-sodium organic chicken broth
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
5 cups chopped collard greens or kale leaves (about 1 bunch), tough stems removed
1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed
2 slices cooked bacon, finely chopped and cooked crispy

(All produce organic and local whenever possible.)

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add sliced garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Increase heat to high and add broth, tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in collard greens (or kale), reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig. Stir in black-eyed peas; remove from the heat and cover.
2. Serve the soup topped with bacon and cheese toasts (optional.)

Makes 6 servings, about 1 1/3 cups each

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 192 calories; 6 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 13 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 12 g protein; 5 g fiber; 518 mg sodium; 253 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (50% daily value), Vitamin C (25% dv), Fiber (16% dv).

In leaving you with this final post of 2008,  I sign off with a bundle of gratitude for your continuing support.  Just like our incoming president has projected, there will be a few changes here based largely on your input.  I will endeavor to provide more nutritional data when available; and will offer at least one post per week that will focus on personal and/or environmental health.  Of course, the seasonal recipes will be ever flowing as I continue my quests in the kitchen.

But I do love to hear what topics are of most interest to you.  That is my ultimate wish for the coming year.  What about you?

Happy New Year, everyone!

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Dec

    I enjoy all your posts and especially those that focus on your personal adventures in the field and kitchen. Love that sense of humor and reading about your own unique experiences.

    Looking forward to more in 2009!

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