Sunday, May 15, 2005

Tangy black-eyed pea, kielbasa, and greens soup

I came home on Wednesday to find my SO cooking a soup filled with onions, garlic, black-eyed peas, sausage, and greens. I ate the soup for dinner that night, for lunch the next day, and then again for breakfast the day after that. In short, I loved it, so it's this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging post. Unlike many of my recent recipe postings, this recipe was created entirely by my SO.

In addition to being hearty and flavorful, this soup is also quite good for you. Thanks to a full pound of turnip greens, another pound of black-eyed peas, and other assorted vegetables, the soup contains 10g of fiber (40% of the daily requirement for a 2000-calorie diet), 286% of the RDA for vitamin A, 86% of the RDA for vitamin C, 23% of the RDA for calcium, and 36% of the RDA for iron, per serving, assuming 8 large servings. Approximately 39% of the soup's 450 calories come from fat, 42% from carbohydrates, and 20% from protein; it contains 20g of fat (6.3g saturated) per serving, which is just about 30% of a 2000-calorie diet's daily fat and saturated fat (values calculated by MasterCook).

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound kielbasa, halved and sliced into ~1/2" thick pieces
5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced ~1/8 to 1/4" thick
4 medium onions, finely chopped
8 cloves (~1/2 bulb) garlic, minced or pressed with a garlic press
1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and sorted (to remove any bad peas)
Water to cover the peas
1 pound turnip greens (we used frozen)
Salt to taste (we think we used ~2 teaspoons)
Pepper to taste (we think we used ~1/2 teaspoon)
~3 whole limes

1. In a large, nonstick, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
2. When the oil is hot, add the kielbasa and fry, stirring, until the sausage begins to brown (~5-10 minutes).
3. Add the onions and carrots, and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften (~5-10 minutes). My SO chopped the onions and sliced the carrots using our food processor.
4. Add the garlic, and continue to cook, stirring, for another few minutes (~3 minutes).
5. Add the black-eyed peas to the pot along with enough water to cover them by a couple of inches. If you want a thicker soup, add less water; if you want a thinner soup, add more water.
6. Simmer, covered, until the black-eyed peas are tender, approximately an hour and a half. Stir occasionally, and add more water if the soup is looking too thick.
7. Once the peas are tender, add the greens, salt, and pepper (vary the amounts of salt and pepper to your taste). Return to a simmer, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the greens are cooked through.
8. Ladle into bowls, and serve with fresh lime juice to taste (we used a couple of teaspoons per bowl).

Fresh-squeezed lime juice is an essential part of the recipe; its tanginess brightens the flavors of the soup. Lemons make an OK substitution, though if you were really in a pinch, you could probably substitute vinegar.

Substituting mustard greens or collard greens for turnip greens should work well; spinach could probably work too, but it might just fall apart while cooking.

Feel free to vary the recipe to fit your preferences. Some easy variations we've thought of include:
  • Reduce the garlic, if you're not as addicted to it as we are.
  • Mash some of the soup with a potato masher, if you want it creamier.
  • Reduce the sausage, or use low-fat sausage, if you want a lower-fat soup.
  • If you wanted the sausage to retain more of its flavor, you could fry it first, then remove it from the pot while cooking the rest of the soup, finally adding it back to the pot with the greens.

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