Hey! Hope you are enjoying your short week.
4-day weeks are, in my opinion, a blessing and a curse. I’m never one to turn up my nose at an extra weekend day, but they often mean that you end up trying to cram 5 days’ worth of work into 4 days, which often means that toward the end of the week, you want to come home, turn on Jeopardy, hang out with your cat, and not have to figure out what to eat for dinner. (“What do you want?” “I don’t care, whatever you want.” “I’m easy, I can do whatever.” I could go on but I don’t want to force you to relive any more of that dreaded conversation than you already have.)
How to remedy this?
What we do is make soup early in the week. It’s no more difficult to make a huge pot of soup than to make a tiny one, soup tastes a little better after a couple days in the fridge, and if, perchance, you haven’t finished it all in a couple days, you can freeze it for future evenings like those described in above parentheses.
This soup is special in that it combines ingredients that originate in the Deep South but that usually aren’t cooked together. The South is home to my entire nuclear and extended family (miss y’all!), so maybe I was subconsciously hoping that by bringing together these seldom-combined Southern ingredients, I could metaphorically bring us together too.
And what do you know? My sister (<3) happened to text me while I was cooking.
I had sauerkraut on the side of mine because I wanted greens but wasn’t in the mood to make a salad. Reese paired his soup with an avocado-jack quesadilla and, yes, a Pacifico with lime. We are still in California, after all.
Sweet potat0, peanut butter, and black-eyed pea soup
Serves 6-8 as a side, 4-6 as a main, depending how hungry you are
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 small stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 2 small or 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes
- 4 cups veg broth (I like to keep a jar of Better than Boullion vegetable stock concentrate in the fridge and make as needed)
- 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (or 1 15-oz can)
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter (I like the hippie kind)
- ½ bunch collards (or 2 cups), chopped up small but not tiny
- Heat the olive oil in a big, heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent.
- Add the rest of the diced veg and potatoes and stir. Add a good pinch of salt and the cumin and paprika and let sauté a little while.
- When the veggies are good and sweaty, add the can of tomatoes and bay leaf, stir, and simmer until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
- Add the black-eyeds and then the broth. Bring back to a simmer.
- Add the peanut butter and stir to combine.
- When you’re 5-10 minutes away from eating, add the chopped collards and simmer. You want them past the point where they are bright green but before they start looking like a military uniform.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
This soup absolutely must be liberally doused with hot sauce of your choice. The vinegar in the sauce provides a necessary balance to the earthiness of the peas and the fattiness of the peanut butter. As I mentioned, I have Southern roots, so I opted for Tabasco. Reese went with Cholula to complement his quesadilla and beer.