Cook time: 6 Hr Prep time: 30 Min Serves: 6-8
2 pkg fresh black-eye peas, 12-oz each (or 1 pound dried black eye peas, soaked and prepared for cooking)
3-4 c ham, cubed (can be leftover ham if there’s not enough on the hambone)
1 large yellow sweet onion, chopped
2 stalk(s) celery, chopped
2-3 dash(es) Louisiana hot sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 bay leaves
6 c chicken broth
1 Tbsp Better than Bouillon ham flavor (optional)
1 can(s) Rotel tomatoes and chilies, undrained (mild, original or hot will all do, pick your personal preference for heat.)
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 head of green cabbage (if the cabbage is large) or 1 small green cabbage, chopped
1. Prep all ingredients. Carve as much meat as you can off the hambone, then cube the meat. Then, starting with the hambone, put all ingredients into Crock Pot except the cabbage. Pour the broth over last. This soup has a lot of volume starting out, but it will cook down considerably. Note: If you can’t get fresh black eye peas, you may use a pound of dried black-eyed peas. To substitute dried black-eyed peas, rinse the peas the night before, sorting out any dirt or stones. Put into a pot, cover with water, and boil for ten minutes. Remove from heat and allow to soak overnight. When ready to prepare, rinse the peas before adding them to the Crock Pot. Canned black-eyed peas are NOT recommended, as they grow pasty and mushy and ruin the texture of the soup.
2. Add chopped cabbage to the top of the mixture.
3. Cook on high for 6 hours.
4. Give the soup a stir to make sure the cabbage is cooking down about 3 hours into the cooking process.
5. Remove ham bone and bay leaves from Crock Pot. Scrape off meat and marrow and stir both into the soup. Discard hambone. Add salt, pepper and a few dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste.
6. We pair this with my grandmother’s recipe for Southern cornbread with stone-ground cornmeal. Forget about crackers — just crumble some cornbread into your soup to soak up the good juice for a meal that’ll make a great start to your New Year!
7. This is great the next day, too. Peas soften still more overnight. Note: If you don’t have a leftover hambone from your holiday ham, one alternative is to get a hambone from Honeybaked Ham, if one is in your area. I’ve found their ‘soup starter’ bones have enough ham left both for this soup and for an additional meal! Honeybaked sells their hambones dirt cheap after Christmas and Easter, so it’s a great time to stock up, too. *I’m not employed by Honeybaked and I have no stake in the company — it’s just the cheapest and easiest way I’ve found to get a hambone without having to buy a whole ham to get it.