Monday, December 6, 2010

Ham, black-eyed pea and collard green soup

Well, the farm has suffered a bit of a setback; someone bought the land we were getting serious about before we could. This is only a temporary problem, as there is always more land out there becoming available, but man - it sucks. Yet, we shall press forward. Pure Land Organic cannot be stopped! Obstacles only invigorate our spirit! Yeah!!

In the meantime, have some soup.

This is an old Gourmet recipe, slightly modified to be a little more interesting. In the original recipe, for example, there are no herbs whatsoever and water is used for most of the liquid. I just can't get behind that. If you're not really into collards (weirdo), you could substitute any dark leafy green you like, just like the caldo verde I made this summer.

It's a great recipe for using extra holiday ham and perfect for New Year's Day, if you're into that whole black-eyed peas for good luck thing. Make sure you get your peas ahead of time, though - my grocery store had sold out last year.

1lb dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight (sure, you could use canned - I'd guess 3 or 4)
1 medium onion, diced finely
2 carrots, diced finely
2 celery stalks, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
couple handfuls of leftover ham, diced (maybe 2 cups)
1/2 tsp of dried thyme or few sprigs of fresh
2 bay leaves
6 cups low sodium chicken stock
1lb collard greens, center ribs removed, leaves diced

Pick over your peas to remove any rocks or random beans and cover with a few inches of cold water. Let sit overnight. Make sure you change the water once at some point.

When it's soup time, saute your onion, celery, and carrots in a large dutch oven with a little olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Allow to soften for 5 or 6 minutes over medium-low heat. Add your garlic and ham for another minute or two. Then, add your stock, black-eyed peas, thyme and bay leaves, cover, and allow to come to a simmer.

Cook for about an hour, or until your peas are soft and squish-able. Using a fork or a masher, squish some of the peas to add body to the soup (I just mashed a few times right into the pot. If you want it smoother you could give it a few pulses with your stick blender).

Finally, stir in your collard greens and allow to cook for 10 more minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and consume with a big hunk of warm crusty bread. Ooo, garlic bread would be even better.

Serves 6-8, takes a little over an hour (most of that being hands-off).

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