If there’s one recipe that must be on my list to make every year, it’s this black-eyed pea soup. Since I was a child, I’ve always had a big pot of it simmering on the stove during New Years because, apparently, it’s good luck for the entire year!
While I’m not positive about the good luck promise, I’m also not willing to risk it. Plus I love black-eyed peas. To this day I make them every single year without fail.
There are many variations and substitutions you can make to this soup. I tried to list some of my favorites below, but the recipe is very simple and basic. The whole idea is that this is a comfort food soup and you don’t need a lot of fancy ingredients to make it delicious.
Happy New Years to you and your family and bring in the new year with some black-eyed peas!
Do you need to soak black-eyed peas?
This soup recipe has very basic ingredients, but it does require a bit of planning because you have to soak the beans overnight.
I recommend sorting through your black-eyed peas as sometimes you will find small pebbles in them! Then add the black-eyed peas to a large bowl and cover them completely with cold water and let them soak overnight. They will more than double in size and be ready to add to your soup the next day.
Rinse the black-eyed peas well in a colander before cooking them.
If you forget to do this, or don’t want to bother, I’d recommend reading through this pressure cooker black eyed pea recipe from Dad Cooks Dinner, which is a great option as well.
- Want a different black-eyed pea option? Try these black-eyed pea benedicts!
Basic ingredients for black-eyed pea soup
This recipe is very basic in the ingredient list. I prefer to keep it simple, but you can read some of the substitution ideas below if you want to change it up or add more flavors to the soup.
Here are the basics I used:
- 1 pound of black-eyed peas
- Ham steak or smoked ham hock – this adds great flavor to the soup
- Garlic – Must have in my opinion.
- Onions – I used a mix of pearl onion and scallion for my version
- Salt and pepper – I keep the seasonings simple.
Making the black-eyed pea soup
Once you ahve your black-eyed peas soaked, set those aside and chop up your ham, garlic and scallions. Chop up the white part of the onions for the stew and then we will use the greens for a garnish.
In a large pot or large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the scallions and garlic. Let those sautée for 2 or 3 minutes.
Then add in your ham. This should cook for ten minutes. You want your ham to just start to brown a bit.
Then add the black-eyed peas to the pot. You want to stir well to make sure all your flavors are incorporated.
Next add six cups of water and bring to a boil. Once the stew is boiling, turn down to low and let your soup simmer for one hour.
After that hour, toss in your pearl onions. I also tasted my soup here and added salt and pepper until I liked the flavor. You could add lots of other spices like oregano, red pepper flake, etc. I wanted to keep mine pretty simple though.
Let this simmer for another 30 minutes and your beans should be tender and perfect. If they aren’t then let them cook for another thirty. Very simple. Very delicious.
I like to leave this pot on low all day and if you are having people over they can help themselves throughout the day. It’s a very warming dish and who knows… maybe you’ll have some good luck next year!
Instructions for Slow-Cooker Soup
It makes sense to want to make this in the slow cooker. You can start the soup in the morning and it’ll be ready for a mid-afternoon dinner.
For slow cooker preparation, I would just add all the ingredients (including the soaked black-eyed peas) to your slow cooker and cook on low for eight hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
As always, taste and adjust the soup to your liking when it’s getting close to being done. It might need a pinch of salt and pepper for sure.
Substitutions and ideas!
This is an incredibly flexible soup and many people put their own spin on the soup. Here are a few ideas!
- For a vegan or vegetarian version of the soup, leave out the ham and maybe add some mushrooms or something for some umami flavors.
- Add some dried chilies to the soup for a spicy kick.
- Consider adding other herbs like bay leaves, parsley, or oregano to the soup as it simmers.
- Add greens to the soup for a more traditional Southern approach. You could use collard greens or kale.
- Add other vegetables to the soup that go well in soup like celery, carrots, or green peppers.
What to serve with black-eyed pea soup
Traditionally you would serve this soup with cornbread so try out this cornbread if you want to keep it classic.
But some other options would be a good crusty baguette or garlic bread!
Storing and reheating the soup
This soup keeps okay in the fridge for a few days in an air-tight container. The peas kind of start to break down after 4-5 days so try to eat it quickly. You can also freeze the leftovers for up to three months if you want to keep it longer.
Reheat the black-eyed pea soup on the stovetop over low heat until it’s simmering again. Add a splash of water if it seems too thick.
Have some soup this New Year’s Day and hope for prosperity and health in the new year!
Black Eyed Pea Soup with Ham
- 1 pound black-eyed peas, 1 bag
- 1 pound ham steak, cubed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch scallions, chop whites and use greens for garnish
- 1 pound pearl onions
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- Soak your beans overnight and then rinse them in a colander.
- Set those aside and chop up your ham, garlic and scallions. Chop up the white part of the onions for the stew and then we will use the greens for a garnish.
- In a large pot (6-7 qt.), get your olive oil hot on medium heat and then throw in your scallions and garlic. Let those sautée for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Then add in your ham. This should cook for ten minutes. You want your ham to just start to brown a bit.
- Then throw in all your beans. You want to stir well to make sure all your flavors are incorporated.
- Next add six cups of water and bring to a boil. Once the stew is boiling, turn down to low and let your soup simmer for one hour.
- After that hour, toss in your pearl onions and season with salt and pepper. You could add lots of other spices like oregano, red pepper flake, etc. I wanted to keep mine pretty simple though.
- Let this simmer for another 30 minutes and your beans should be tender and perfect. If they aren’t then let them cook for another thirty. Very simple. Very delicious.