When I first moved to Texas, I had never heard of the New Year’s tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens for good luck. I thought it was rather bizarre since I wasn’t a fan of either of those things. Since then, I’ve learned to love both.

As with all soups, this one is forgiving. There are several options you can make to change it up if you want.

  1. Instead of ham, if you have leftover cooked turkey or chicken, you could use those instead. You’ll need to add some extra salt to taste as the ham is naturally salty.
  2. If you don’t have a hambone, just skip it. It adds some extra flavor, but it’s not essential.
  3. You can use any kind of greens you want, have available or are on sale. Collard greens, mustard greens, lacinto kale, dinosaur kale, rainbow chard, or swiss chard all work.
  4. If you want, use a jalapeno, habanero, or other spicy pepper instead of the cayenne pepper. Or if you prefer your food milder in taste, skip all of the above.
  5. If you can’t find fresh black-eyed peas, you can soak dried ones overnight and then add to the soup. If you use canned or frozen, you will not need to cook this for very long at all (5-10 minutes).
New Year's Soup

Black-Eyed Peas, Ham, and Greens soup

New Year’s Soup

A few tablespoons of olive or canola oil
1 yellow or white organic onion, diced
1 organic bell pepper (I used 1/3 orange, 1/3 green, 1/3 yellow), diced
8 cups organic chicken broth (I used Pacific brand)
12 oz fresh black-eyed peas, pre-soaked
1 ham bone (optional)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried organic marjoram
1 teaspoon dried organic thyme
1/2 teaspoon organic black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried ground mustard (not prepared)
1 pound fully cooked ham, diced
1 bunch collard greens, stalks and leaves separated

Slice the stalks to the collard greens the way you would with celery for a soup. Shred the collard green leaves into bite sized pieces. In a large soup pot, sauté the onion, bell pepper and sliced collard green stalks together over medium in oil. Once the onion mixture is cooked all the way, add the broth, ham bone, black-eyed peas, garlic and spices. Cook until the beans are soft, about 45-60 minutes. Towards the end, stir in the ham to warm it up. Remove from heat and remove the ham bone. Add the collard green leaves to help cool the soup to an edible temperature and cook the greens.

Makes about 12 cups of soup.

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