Blackeyed Pea Soup with Greens

This is a wonderfully substantial soup, almost a stew, reminiscent of another Southern dish, Hoppin' John. It's become somewhat of a tradition for us to serve this dish on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We have it with either corn bread or popovers. Also, as condiments with the soup, we serve sour cream with sliced scallions and grated cheddar. This recipe serves at least seven.


1 lb. Blackeyed Peas, dried
1 cup Yellow OnionDiced
1 clove GarlicMinced
1 cup CelerySliced thinly
2   Bouillon CubesOr, enough for 4 cups water
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp Cumin
1 tsp SaltOr, to taste
½ tsp Black PepperOr, to taste
28 fluid oz. TomatoesCanned, chunky style, or diced, if possible
½ lb. GreensKale, Beet, whatever is available, well washed, and sliced about 1/2
½ cup Brown RiceBasmati, if available
½ cup Cheddar CheeseExtra sharp, finely grated, optional condiment
2 tbsp ScallionsSliced thinly, optional, to be added to sour cream as condiment
¼ cup Sour CreamOptional, as noted above
2 tbsp Classic Olive OilOr butter, if preferred


1 In preparation, either soak the blackeyed peas overnight or early in the day, rinse the peas, cover with water to about two inches above top of peas in good-sized saucepan, bring to a boil and boil for two minutes, take off heat, cover, and let sit for at least one hour.
2 Drain the blackeyed peas.
3 In a large pot (I use my pasta pot), heat the olive oil or butter over medium heat. Add the onions and celery. Let them saute until they are slightly translucent. Add the garlic and saute briefly, just a minute. Add the drained blackeyed peas, the can of tomatoes, and enough water to cover the peas by about two inches. Add the bouillion cubes, cayenne pepper, cumin , salt and pepper.
4 Let this simmer, with cover askew, for about one hour. stirring every fifteen minutes or so to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
5 Add the rice and let simmer another 45 minutes, As this is cooking, watch to make sure there is enough water so that you can stir it comfortably and prevent the soup from sticking onto the bottom of the pan.
6 Add the greens. They will take up a lot of space at first. Stir them into the mixture. Let them cook about five minutes or so. They will wilt and blend into the soup.
7 The soup is now ready. It should be quite thick. Whatever consistency you prefer, either let the soup simmer further to thicken, or add a little water for a thinner soup.
8 For the optional condiments: Add the scallions to the sour cream for one of the condiments. Serve the grated cheddar also, if you like. Both are excellent additions.