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January 07, 2006

"Hoppin' John" soup

I was in the grocery store one night last week, and I spied some bags of fresh black-eyed peas. Black-eyed peas are of course traditional to eat on New Year's day, for good luck, and one very traditional dish to eat them in is Hoppin' John, a mixture of black-eyed peas and rice, usually flavored with salt pork, or smoked ham hock, or something of the kind.

Even though it was a few days after the start of the new year, I decided that a little belated luck was better than none. I created the following soup, loosely based on the Hoppin' John concept. It turned out really great - it had a nice slightly spicy, smoky flavor and makes a good, hearty one dish meal.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 11 oz. package fresh black eyed peas
  • ~3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 links Cajun andouille-style sausage, diced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can Muir Glen fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 tsp Cajun seasoning blend
  • Tabasco sauce to taste

The Steps

  1. In a soup pot, saute the sausage over medium-high heat until it is cooked through and beginning to brown a bit.
  2. Add onion, celery, and peppers. Cook until onion is translucent. (And be sure to lean over the pot and take a good whiff, so you can smell while Cajun cooks call onion, celery, and bell peppers the "holy trinity" of Cajun cooking.
  3. Add tomatoes, broth, black-eyed peas, Cajun seasoning, and Tabasco. (I gave it 3 or 4 good dashes from the bottle, and I thought the soup was pleasantly spicy but not fiery.)
  4. Simmer until the peas are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve.
Mmmmm. Not just a yummy dish, but a pretty darn easy one, too. Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

How yummy was it? Mr. Spaceling had some of the leftovers the next day for lunch. Most of you probably can't appreciate the significance of this the way I can. Let's just say that Mr. Spaceling doesn't do leftovers. Except for this soup.

Some notes on the ingredients: If you can't get fresh black-eyed peas (and I'm not sure if I can get them outside of the New Year's season), then you can probably substitute canned or cook some up from dried beans. If you don't want to use (or can't find) the Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes, you can use regular canned tomatoes - I think the fire-roasted ones contribute a nice hint of char and smokiness to the dish, but I don't think it's critical.

Posted by spaceling at January 7, 2006 02:43 PM


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