Sunday, November 21, 2010

Collard Green & Black-Eyed Pea Soup

-My friends, the recipes for greens never ends! I find myself singing the song from the musical Into The Woods... ♪Greens, greens, and nothing but greens!♪. After working with them, I have realized that I really enjoy collards, kale, and of course spinach. Sadly, mustard and turnip greens don't always substitute well in recipes. However, no substitutions were needed for this Eating Well recipe. If you recall I talked about how collards were often just lumped into Southern Cuisine and recipes I have found played around with that. Collard Green and Black-Eyed Pea soup couldn't sound more Southern. And once you read the recipe and realize there is bacon in it you know you've found a winner. (On a side note, this recipe easily adapts to a vegetarian by changing the broth and skipping the bacon or substituting soy bacon).

This recipe is not for two, but I divided it into freezer bags with two servings in each bag. They are now frozen and will be enjoyed later. I've never been a huge fan of canned soups, so having frozen soup in two serving portions is super nice. Perfect for Sunday lunches when I don't want to cook. I was able to use not only collards from my box, but also carrots. I had no taste testers to give me feedback (my room mate shys away from cooked greens) but I really enjoyed the soup and will make it again when I have collards.

The only thing I changed about the recipe, was that I just made regular cheese toast with whole wheat sandwich bread and Swiss cheese.

I find that I've been making a lot more soups this year than I have in the past. What are your favorite soups you make at home? Please share in the comments section.

Collard Green & Black-Eyed Pea Soup
(Serves 6)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
5 cloves garlic, (4 sliced and 1 whole), divided
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
5 cups chopped collard greens, or kale leaves (about 1 bunch), tough stems removed
1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed
6 1/2-inch-thick slices baguette, preferably whole-grain, cut on the diagonal
6 tablespoons shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese
2 slices cooked bacon, finely chopped

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add sliced garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Increase heat to high and add broth, tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in collard greens (or kale), reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig. Stir in black-eyed peas; remove from the heat and cover.

2. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.

3. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and broil until lightly toasted, 2 to 4 minutes. Rub each bread slice with the remaining garlic clove. (Discard garlic.) Turn the slices over and top with cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted, 1 to 3 minutes. Serve the soup topped with the cheese toasts and bacon.

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