holiday meals, soups and stews

Black-eyed Pea Soup with Ham

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Hi there. I don’t know about you all, but it takes me a few days to bounce back after the holiday “vacation”.  The first week of my son’s Christmas break this time around was so restful, peaceful and fun. We enjoyed hanging around the house, having late breakfasts, playing board games, playing in the yard and watching lots of Christmastime classic shows and movies. It was fantastic, relaxed week with my kids!

However, the day after Christmas the traveling madness begins for us. First stop is always my family down on the coast for a couple of nights, then we make our way to the Houston area and commute around that massive city visiting relatives on Evan’s side of the family. All in all we were gone for five nights, but with the several hundreds of miles we drove it seemed more like we were in the car for at least two weeks!!

We arrived home early on New Year’s Day and we were crazy tired by the time we were unpacked. We were exhausted, but the traditional New Year’s foods are important and some cooking just had to be done. For better or for worse, superstition runs strong in my family and we weren’t about to skip nibbling on the customary New Year’s Day foods that symbolize prosperity and money for the rest of the year! Nope. Can’t skip them for take out pizza…not that I ever thought about that either…ever…not even for a minute!

Thankfully, we had leftover ham from Christmas day in the fridge and I had (shockingly) been organized enough to add dried black-eyed peas and a small head of cabbage to the grocery list before we left, so everything was on-hand for dinner. I threw together this simple black-eyed pea soup and sauteed some cabbage with bacon in a large skillet and called it good.. and it actually is pretty good!!

Happy New Year, everyone!


Black-eyed Pea Soup with Ham                        printable recipe

Prep Time: 30 min                        Cook Time: 3 hours                              Servings: 8-10

  • 1 lb dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 1-1/2 cups smoked ham, cubed or chopped
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, rinsed and thinly sliced or diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz) fire-roasted, diced tomatoes, with juice (I always use Hunt’s brand)
  • 3/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 chicken bouillon cubes (I always use Knorr brand)
  • few dashes of Tabasco sauce or your favorite brand of Cajun-style hot sauce (for serving)
  • few teaspoons more chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

1. Combine black-eyed peas with 2 quarts of water in a large Dutch oven. Bring the pot to a rolling boil, reduce heat, cover the pot and allow it to simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. Check the tenderness of the black-eyed peas at the one hour mark, add another quart of water and cover and allow it to simmer for another hour. The beans should be fork tender at the 2 hour mark.

2. Add the ham, carrots, celery, onion, pepper, tomatoes, parsley to the pot plus another cup or two of water, as it’s needed. Add two of the bouillon cubes to the pot, bring back to a simmer and stir the soup. Allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes to one hour or until all the vegetables and beans are tender to your preference. Adjust seasonings and add the last bouillon cube if desired before your remove the pot from the heat.

3. Garnish with a few dashes of hot sauce, if desired, and chopped fresh parsley. Serve with warm buttered rolls or cornbread. Enjoy!


  1. Love black-eyed peas! And they're so wonderful with ham. We always have these for the new year, too. 🙂

  2. i made some of this too, but with the fatal mistake of adding a whole onion–it was way too oniony! great way to start the new year. 🙂

  3. They have a really earthy flavor, David and they are one of those ingredients love people seem to love or hate. I'm in the black-eyed pea love camp 🙂 Let me know how you like them when you try them! Happy New Year! <3

  4. Marcelle – this looks so comforting… I was just reading in The NY Times about the cold in the Northeast, tarted shivering. Then I saw this and thought, “I want a bowl of that right now!” I had to admit on another friend's blog that I have never had black-eyed peas! Don’t you think it’s time?? Happy New Year to you, Evan, and the kids!

  5. Perfect way to celebrate the new year! I've never made black eyed peas, but this looks like a delicious way to test them out 🙂

  6. Marcelle, I had black-eyed peas not more than once or twice when I was a kid and didn't like them, but they were just plain boiled black-eyed peas. I have a feeling I'm going to like them in this soup! And the side of cabbage and bacon sounds wonderful, too.

  7. A delicious new year classic! I would love some too.

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