Cowpea and Collard Soup

Yep, cowpeas.  For those of you from away, cowpeas include a variety of legumes like black-eyed peas, crowder peas and purple hull peas.  You shell them and cook them until they’re soft through.  The flavor of the purple hull is smoother and more subtle than the black-eyed pea.  The shelling is no fun and turns your fingers purple.  Of course they’re about half the price if you shell them yourself.  They’re in at the farmers’ market so I bought about 3 lbs last week and spent a few hours shelling.  I cooked some last night and wanted to use them while they’re at their peak.    I have a bunch in the freezer for Winter too.  I also had some fresh collards stemmed and chopped that really needed to find a pot.

One bowl of this soup and you’re good on folate for the week.  This stuff is low fat, low carb and low cal as well.  And it can easily be vegetarian as well.  Even better it takes about 20 minutes to put together.  Feel free to use onions you chopped and froze on another day.  Do not use frozen greens or spinach.  You need the greens to retain a little of their firmness after cooking.  Any Winter green will do:  collards, kale, turnip or mustard greens.  The recipe was actually written for white beans and greens.  While I’m sure that’s good too, you lose a portion of the nutritional value.  And it’s just more fun to serve cowpeas.

So, other than changing one of the two major ingredients I followed the recipe to the end.  I used homemade chicken stock and an inexpensive, but bright and yummy Chardonnay.  Peas, collards and onions all grown locally.  Quality ingredients produce quality results, right?  And then I tasted the soup.  It was decidedly okay.  I added a splash of cider vinegar to my bowl and voila!  Now I can pronounce the soup good.  Not great, but perfectly respectable.  I’ll definitely eat the rest.  If I’d used white beans I probably would have squeezed a little lemon over the top.

Good? Yep.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Not really. This is strictly a weeknight dinner.
Special shopping? Just a trip to the farmers’ market.

Cowpea and Collard Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup pinot grigio or other light white wine
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups finely shredded collard greens (about 6 ounces)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups purple hull peas, cooked
cider vinegar

Preparation

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add wine, pepper, and salt. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add greens, thyme, and broth. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until greens are tender. Add peas; simmer 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add a splash of cider vinegar to each bowl as it’s served.

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