Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup

Another cold day in Texas in the middle of flu season calls for soup. Luckily I'm healed from my last cold, but I'm still a little stuffy. I braved the crowds to go to my local HEB, where I picked up some black eyed peas in the fresh produce section. The cost was $2.50 for 12 oz which is cheap compared to the fresh English peas that are $2.98 for 8 oz. If you've never had fresh black eyed peas they have the most amazing flavor. If you can get your hands on them--definitely do it. They are ready to use and you can snack on them as-is or toss them in a salad. They still have a bite but will get nice and tender simmering in this soup. This soup is super creamy and subtly smoky. As soon as I tasted it, I declared that it's the best thing I've eaten in 2018. Yeah, we're only 13 days in...but I think this creamy soup will stand the test of time.

I also had a rosemary focaccia from the frozen aisle at HEB. I baked it halfway, and then drizzled on some EVOO, pink sea salt and a handful of Daiya cheddar shreds (I had them leftover from my Cincinnati chili recipe). The result was cheezy breadsticks that were perfect for dipping in the soup. 

Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-5

12 oz. fresh black eyed peas
1 medium green bell pepper (rough chopped)
2 celery ribs (rough diced)
1 medium russet potato (peeled and chopped)
1 large shallot (rough chopped)
1/2 small onion (rough chopped)
2 large garlic cloves (minced)
fresh tomato (optional garnish)
fried onions (optional garnish)
2 cubes Not-so-beef- bouillion + 5 C water (or 5 C low sodium veggie stock)
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
fresh black pepper, to taste

1. In a large stockpot add a few tsps EVOO and heat to medium. Add celery, green pepper, onion and shallot and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring and ensuring it doesn't burn.
2. Add garlic, paprika, garlic powder and white pepper. And cook another minute, stirring well.
3. Add potatoes, black eyed peas, bay leaves, broth, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil and then immediately turn heat down to medium-low. Simmer for at least 40 minutes.
4. Take off heat and let cool a few minutes. Carefully pulse an immersion blender so that it becomes creamy. Taste and season generously with fresh ground black pepper and salt if needed.
5. Serve with fresh chopped tomatoes and fried onions. Serve with warm, fresh bread!

Cheezy Rosemary Foccaccia. Legendary.