Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Soup Of Black-Eyed Peas

A Soup Of Black-Eyed Peas
and Collard Greens in Ham Broth

Soup is comfort food, and we can produce some really rich, full bodied and marvelously delicious soups in just minutes using a pressure cooker. Every household has a favorite recipe, and in the Southern states of the US, some of the best soups feature local ingredients like black-eyed peas and collard greens. This well known combination is steeped in history and has become a popular dish throughout the country.

For more interesting factoids about American traditions that are centered on Black-eyed Peas, see my article on the website. You might even get a smile or two about what some of my opinionated elderly kinfolk had to say about the quaint old Southern custom of eating black-eyed peas as a lucky New Year dish.

Oh yeah, and there's even another pressure cooker recipe featuring more black-eyed peas, too. A soup made in the pressure cooker can be cooked in minutes, but still taste like it has simmered all day. The foundation for any soup is a well seasoned broth or stock that compliments and enhances the flavors of all the ingredients.

So lets begin this soup with a ham broth. I always save the meaty ham bone and the pieces of the smoky outer rind in the freezer for making soup broth. I'm adding aromatics like onions, garlic and cilantro, and my seasoning are simple bay leaves and rosemary.

Oh, but the aroma... I wish you could smell how delicious this is as the scent fills my kitchen. It always reminds me of sitting around my grandma's big old farmhouse table as she ladled her homemade soup into those big old fashioned soup plates.

Did you know that our grandparents scrimped in hard times as well as good times, and all cooks were
frugal in those bygone days so there was very little kitchen waste. Quite literally, what we so casually toss in the garbage today, was routinely 'recycled' and every sort of vegetable and meat scrap was boiled down for the best tasting stocks and broth to make those wonderful soups we all remember. Another big side benefit, was getting a big meal of soup that was practically free. So, plan ahead and freeze those scraps for your next pot of soup.

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