This black eyed pea soup is loaded with layers of delicious flavor, lots of bacon and sausage, and of course black-eyed peas. Many people eat these black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year but I grew up eating them all year round!
We especially love this soup when the weather is cool and everyone’s craving a hearty and comforting meal! And yes, this is a soup that eats like a MEAL!
If you love hearty bean soups try my ham and bean soup and my 15 bean soup next!
If you’re looking for more black-eyed pea recipes, you’ll love my Hoppin John recipe any time of the year. Don’t wait until New Year to enjoy these delicious legumes.
Let’s make this soup!
Why Use A Ham Hock
The ham hock is a wonderful ingredient that infuses the soup with wonderful layers of flavor. The black-eyed peas and vegetables absorb all the smoky flavor as they cook. If you happen to have a leftover ham bone, you can use that with equal success.
It enriches the soup and helps it with tons of ham flavor you just won’t get from tossing in chunks of cooked ham. The beans work like little sponges to absorb all the flavor. If you don’t have a ham bone, you can use ham hocks. They’re generally available at most supermarkets, often in the freezer section. Just ask the butcher.
Black Eyed Peas Ingredients
- Black Eyed Peas: These legumes are packed with nutrients! Be sure to sort the beans and throw out any rocks and or debris. Depending on the manufacturer, there can be varying amounts.
- Thick Cut Bacon: Adds great smokiness and the drippings are used to cook and flavor the aromatics.
- Polska Kielbasa: Adds a nice meatiness and smokey flavor.
- Olive Oil: You can use olive oil or any vegetable oil.
- Onion: You can use white or yellow onion.
- Carrots: These add a nice sweet undertone.
- Celery: The natural saltiness in celery add a nice depth of flavor.
- Collard Greens: This recipe calls for using frozen collard greens instead of fresh ones. I love this because it cuts down on the cooking time so they will be nice and tender when everything else is cooked and ready!
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic, not the stuff that comes already minced in a jar.
- Chicken Broth: I like to use low-sodium chicken broth. That way I can control the amount of salt.
- Russet Potato: Russet potatoes are my favorite. They’re creamy and have just the right amount of starchiness.
- Cajun seasoning: I like the “Slap Yo Mama” brand best. Remember different brands have varying amounts of salt. If you like more Cajun seasoning, hold off on adding the salt until you’ve added the Cajun seasoning, then add salt to taste.
- Salt + Pepper
When To Add Salt
My Grandma always used to tell me not to add salt when I was cooking beans. While I virtually always do what she told me, this is one area I disagree.
Back in my Grandma’s cooking days, it was thought that adding salt when cooking beans hindered the cooking process. It was thought the beans would end up tough and they wouldn’t be creamy.
Most present-day cooking experts disagree. I now add my salt while the beans cook. Here’s an article from the NY Times if you want to read more about it.
- Ham: Substitute the Polska kielbasa with ham. This soup is delicious with dice ham, especially if you have leftovers.
- Collard Greens: If you’d prefer you can switch this up with spinach. Since it cooks a lot quicker than the collard greens, add the spinach about 10 minutes before the soup is done simmering.
- Make It Spicy: As the recipe is written, it’s not very spicy. If you want to heat it up, add more Cajun seasoning and or some of your favorite hot sauce to taste.
Storing + Freezing + Make-Ahead
- How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge? This black eyed pea soup will last in the fridge for up to four days.
- Can You Freeze This? This soup freezes beautifully! Allow it to cool completely and put it in freezer containers. It will keep up to six months. To thaw, let it sit in the fridge overnight, then reheat it on the stovetop!
- Make-Ahead Tips: The flavor in this soup only gets better over time! Making it a day or two ahead and letting it sit in the fridge is a great way to have an easy meal ready and boost all those hard-earned flavors.
How To Make Black Eyed Pea Soup
- Sort through the black-eyed peas. Place in a soup pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover, and let peas soak for 1 hour. Drain peas in a colander; set aside.
- Cook the bacon; drain.
- Brown the polska kielbasa.
- Saute aromatics. Add collard greens and garlic.
- Add the sauteed vegetables, chicken broth, ham hock, crumbled bacon, Polska kielbasa, russet potatoes, salt, pepper, and 4 cups water to the soup pot. Simmer for 45-60 minutes until the black eyed peas are tender. Remove ham hocks. When cool enough to handle, Adjust the seasoning.
See full instructions below.
If you want to keep things Southern, Bisquick biscuits or my Southern cornbread are the way to go! A side of KFC coleslaw would top things off just right!!
More Soup Recipes
Black Eyed Pea Soup
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas about 2½ cups
- 5 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 polska kielbasa
- as needed extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 large carrots diced
- 2 ribs diced celery
- 1½ cups frozen collard greens, center stem removed then leaves chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 1 large russet potato, cut into 1/2 cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- Sort through the black-eyed peas (1 pound) removing debris or rocks. Rinse under cold water.
- Add the black-eyed peas to a large heavy bottom soup pot. Pour 5 cups cold water over the peas. Cook over high heat and bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover, and let peas soak for 1 hour. Drain peas in a colander; set aside. Wipe out the soup pot.
- In a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook the bacon (5 slices) until crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. When cool, crumble the bacon and set aside. Do not remove bacon drippings. If you don't have at least 2 tablespoons of drippings, add vegetable oil to make up the difference.
- Add the Polska kielbasa (1) to the skillet and brown over medium heat; remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add the onions (1), carrots (2), and celery (2) and saute until the onion is translucent about 8-10 minutes. Add the collard greens (1½ cups) and garlic (3) and cook until the garlic is fragrant about 1 minute.
- Add the sauteed vegetables, chicken broth (4 cups), ham hock (1), crumbled bacon, Polska kielbasa, russet potatoes (1), salt (1/2 teaspoon), pepper (1/2 teaspoon), Cajun seasoning (1/2 teaspoon), soaked black-eyed peas, and 4 cups water to the soup pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer covered, until the peas and potatoes are tender, and the collard greens are the texture you like, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove the ham hocks from the soup. When cool enough to handle, remove any meat and return to the soup pot. Discard any skin and bones.
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Source: Adapted from Food Network
Kathy Kreicker says
I made this soup yesterday. I added more liquid as I had a lot of leftover ham that I used instead of the bacon. It was really good and we will be eating leftovers all week.
Hi, Kathy! Leftover ham is perfect! I’m glad you chose this soup to try 🙂
Yum! I love this soup! I have some leftover ham, it’s perfect for this!
Thanks, Rose! Those are perfect. Enjoy 🙂