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Black-eyed Pea Soup is Perfect for Fall!

A hearty soup is perfect for fall, whether you are tailgating or relaxing after an afternoon of raking leaves.  This soup is a Buckhorn Inn favorite and we are happy to share it with you.

This soup is delicious and packs a nutritious punch.

Black-eyed peas star in this flavorful soup.

Black-eyed Pea and Collards Soup

In a stockpot, bring to a boil:

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas

3 qts chicken stock

3 ribs diced celery

1 diced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tbl chopped parsley

2 bay leaves

1 tsp black pepper

Slowly boil until the peas are just tender.  Then add:

12 ozs fresh or frozen chopped collards

Salt to taste

1 cup diced cooked ham or 1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon

Continue to cook until the peas are tender, adding more stock if necessary.  Taste and correct seasonings.  Some of our guests enjoy this soup with hot pepper-flavored vinegar or other hot sauce.  Cornbread makes a wonderful accompaniment.  This recipe makes 12 servings.

Black-Eyed Peas are Popular Throughout the South

The legume was introduced to the Southern U.S. as early as the 17th century.  George Washington Carver was a proponent of planting the crop as it puts nitrogen back into the soil and is densely nutritious.  The peas contain calcium, folate, protein, fiber, and vitamin A–all for less than 200 calories a cup!  The blossoms produce nectar and attract bees and other pollinators.

A black-eyed pea soup such as this one often is served on New Year’s Day as it is thought to bring prosperity in the coming year.  The peas swell when they cook, thus symbolizing prosperity.  The greens represent money.  Because of the rooting style of pigs, pork products are thought to symbolize forward motion.  And serving this dish with cornbread (symbolizing gold) must guarantee success in this New Year!

Some say that when General Sherman marched his Union Army to the sea during the Civil War they pillaged the Confederate food supply.  They left behind, though, the dried peas and salt port as they thought these foodstuffs not fit for human consumption.  The Southerners considered themselves fortunate to have this food left behind to see them through, and this may be how the peas first became associated with good luck in the United States.

For more black-eyed pea recipes and cooking tips, visit the Southern Living website http://www.southernliving.com/side-dishes/how-to-cook-black-eyed-peas

Happy fall, y’all!