I’ve had a package of pre-washed, pre-chopped collard greens in the fridge for a few days, and I was hoping to do something different with them. But as time went on and no new recipes came to mind, I started to get afraid that they’d go bad; at the very least, they were losing nutrients every day that they sat there (everything’s always more nutritious closer to harvest.)
So in the end, I took an old favorite soup, Lorna Sass’ Collards and Black-eyed Pea Soup, and gave it the Louisiana treatment: green bell peppers, diced tomatoes, creole-type seasonings, and loads of spiciness. And since I love smokiness, I kind of went wild with three different smoky seasonings–chipotle powder, fire-roasted tomatoes, and smoked paprika–and my husband and I loved the results. I know that not everyone is the smoke addict that I am, so if you like spicy but not smoky, just substitute regular chili powder, regular diced tomatoes, and regular paprika.
Spicy Collards and Black-eyed Pea Soup
- 2 onions , diced
- 2 ribs celery , diced
- 1 cup diced green bell pepper
- 3-4 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 cups dried black-eyed peas , picked over and rinsed
- 6 cups water
- 1 pound collard greens , tough stems removed and greens chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme (divided)
- 1 teaspoon oregano (divided)
- 1 16- ounce can tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred)
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 -2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon double strength tomato paste (or 2 tbsp. regular)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- additional water (or vegetable broth), as needed
Heat a pressure cooker or large pot and add the onions. (Electric pressure cooker users, use Sauté or Brown setting.) Sauté for about 5 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the celery, green pepper, and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 3 more minutes.
Add the black-eyed peas, water, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon of oregano.
Cooking: If using a pressure cooker, seal the cooker and cook for 10 minutes after it reaches high pressure; use a quick-release method to bring down the pressure.
If cooking in a regular pot, cook until peas are tender, about 45-55 minutes.
Once the peas are tender, add the reserved herbs and all remaining ingredients and simmer on low for at least 25 minutes to allow flavors to develop. If the soup is too thick, add up to two cups water or vegetable broth until it's the consistency of soup. (Electric pressure cooker users, use the Sauté or Brown setting and adjust the heat to low if possible, or use Keep Warm.) Serve with brown rice with additional hot sauce. (Garnishing with fresh oregano is optional.)