Thursday, October 31, 2013

Black-eyed Pea Soup (Gluten Free)

Black-eyed Pea Soup, from the great state of Louisiana, was executed by a guest cook on the blog, notably my husband Bob. I planned to have the soup for Wednesday night supper. Lately, Bob has been cooking on Wednesday nights because I have been hauling up to the Democratic National Committee on Capitol Hill to make calls for Terry McAuliffe, who as of today is the new Governor elect of Virginia. (The Berkshire Farmer buffs her fingernails.) I suddenly remembered around lunchtime Wednesday afternoon that I had not started the black-eyed pea soup in the crock pot, and told Bob about it as I flew out the door.
To combat blandness, and , he confessed because he didn't read the recipe all the way through, Bob put the four slices of lemon that were supposed to be a garnish into the soup. The result was a piquant, lemon infused soup where the smokiness of the ham hock blended with the lemon flavor to produce something very nice indeed.
The recipe as written is supposed to be cooked on top of the stove, but 4 hours on high in the slow cooker produces the same result. He also did not soak the beans. I suspect that Monsanto or some other agribiz company has fiddled with the genetic make up of dried beans so we no longer have to soak them. Please note that this is only an opinion, not an accusation. I have no direct information about what Monsanto does or does not do.
So when I got home from a hard night of dialing the telephone numbers of Marylanders who were not home, or not answering their phones, we ate hot soup. (In case you are wondering why I would be calling residents of Maryland during a campaign to elect the governor of Virginia, we were combing the Obama lists for people to volunteer to knock on doors on Election Day.
By the way, black-eyed peas are actually beans, like kidney beans, and are eaten all over the world. 

Black Eyed Pea Soup

2 cups dried black-eyed peas
cold water
1 small ham hock (Ham hocks from Safeway are huge. As far as I am concerned, bigger is better here.)
4 cups boiling water
1 bay leaf
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1 onion, studded with two whole cloves
salt to taste
4 peppercorns
4 thin slices lemon
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley

1. Soak the black-eyed peas over night in cold water to cover. Next day, drain and place in a two-quart kettle. Add the ham hock, boiling water, bay leaf, celery, onion, salt and peppercorns (and lemon slices )and bring to a boil. Cook until peas are tender, two and one half hours to three hours. As the soup cooks, skim the surface as necessary.
2. Remove the ham hock and bay leaf and puree the soup either through a sieve or in an electric blender.  Spoon into four hot soup plates and top each with a slice of lemon. Dot the center of each lemon slice with a little paprika and one-quarter teaspoon chopped parsley.

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