The Shopper Kitchen: Collard and Black-eyed Pea Soup with Turkey Sausage

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By Angela McRae, The Shopper Kitchen

Are you from a superstitious family? I am. My maternal grandmother would have a fit if I walked by an empty rocking chair and set it to rocking. “Oh, honey, don’t do that. That’s bad luck.”

When I was growing up, my mother never wanted us to wash clothes on New Year’s Day, invoking the old superstition that to do so meant we’d be “washing for the dead” before the year was over. I still observe this tradition, although my husband gets it a little jumbled. On New Year’s Eve, he told me he was putting a load of laundry in the washer that day and not January 1 “so that we won’t be washing any dead people next year.”

My mother also believed it was bad luck to leave your Christmas decorations up past New Year’s, but as an adult, I found that this “superstition” conveniently coincided with her desire for a tidy house, and it was based on no folklore that I could document.

Regardless of which superstitions you and your family observe, I think we can all agree that there’s something satisfying about saying goodbye to an old year and hello to a new one. And I have long celebrated the arrival of a new year by eating the traditional foods of black-eyed peas, for luck, and collards, for prosperity. I read somewhere that black-eyed pea and collard soup has become a popular New Year’s treat, so to welcome 2020, I tried my hand at making one.

While chopping up all those collard greens does take a while (tip: find some nice music on your iPhone), when they’re combined with the vegetables and smoked turkey sausage, it’s an easy, delicious way of enjoying the traditional New Year’s foods. Served with cornbread muffins, this smoky-flavored soup is a great meal on its own and also makes a fun dish for potlucks and January gatherings with family and friends. Happy New Year!

Collard and Black-eyed Pea Soup with Turkey Sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
3 celery ribs, chopped fine
1-1/2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 (13-ounce) package ready-to-eat smoked turkey sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
5 cups water
6 cups of fresh collard greens, chopped into 1- to 2-inch slices (stems removed)
Dash of hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, then add sausage, parsley, sage, tomatoes, water, collards, hot sauce, and paprika. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook for 30 minutes more. Add peas and heat for 5 more minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Yields 8-10 servings.

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