A Warming Soup for Chilly Autumn Nights

In my version I substituted smoked ham in place of the sausage, and green pigeon peas (used in Latin and Caribbean cooking and available in my local grocery) instead of field peas, and loved the results. This all-in-one main course could anchor a meal on any night of the week. Serve it with slices of warm cornbread or a crusty peasant loaf, and add a salad of red leaf and Belgian endive tossed in a lemon dressing. And, for dessert a plate of those molasses spice cake squares from last week’s post could round out the menu!

Emily’s Beans and Greens Soup over Mounds of Brown Rice

3 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup (3 oz) finely diced (1/4 inch) smoked ham
1 1/2 cups finely diced onion
3/4 cups finely diced carrots
3/4 cup finely diced celery
1tbsp dried thyme
1tbsp crushed dried rosemary
1 large Yukon Gold potato (8 oz) peeled and finely diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
Kosher salt
8 oz collards, stems and center veins removed, and leaves chopped (see note)
8 oz kale, stems and center veins removed, and leaves chopped (see note)
28-oz can diced tomatoes with their juices
6 to 8 cups reduced sodium chicken stock plus more if needed
1 15-oz can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 15-oz can green pigeon peas, drained and rinsed (see note)
Freshly ground pepper
3 cups cooked brown rice (see note)

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large deep-sided pot over medium heat. When hot, add the ham and sauté, stirring until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the ham to drain on paper towels.

2. To the same pot add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the onion, carrots, celery, thyme, and rosemary. Stir constantly until vegetables start to soften and are lightly browned, 6-8 minutes. Add the potatoes, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir for two minutes. Add half of the chopped collards and kale, and cook, stirring, until the greens are almost wilted. Add the remaining greens and the ham, and continue to stir until all the greens have wilted 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes with their juices, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the black-eyed peas, and the pigeon peas. Bring soup to a simmer, and then lower the heat. Cook at a gentle simmer, uncovered, until the greens are tender and soup has thickened, 35-40 minutes. If you feel the soup is too thick, thin it with up to 2 cups of the remaining chicken stock. Season the soup with salt and pepper. (The soup can be prepared 2 days ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat, stirring occasionally and thinning with additional stock or even water if needed.)

4. To serve, place a mound of cooked brown rice in the center of a wide shallow soup bowl. Ladle the hot soup over the rice. Repeat to make 7 more servings. Serves 8.

To prep the collards and the greens, use a sharp knife and cut out and discard the thick center vein and stem from the leaves. Then chops the greens.You should get 4 cups of each.

Green Pigeon peas are rounded peas that are used in Caribbean cooking. I use the Goya brand. If you can’t find them you can substitute Southern field peas or simply use two cans of black-eyed peas.

I like Trader’s Joe’s brown basmati rice. Whatever brand you use, cook it according to the package directions. You can make it 2 to 3 days ahead, and cover and refrigerate it. Bring the rice to room temperature before ladling the hot soup over.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2014

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12 thoughts on “A Warming Soup for Chilly Autumn Nights

    • Yes, hit the “2” at the end of the text and it will take you to the second page where you’ll find the recipe. Hope you’ll enjoy it!

  1. My husband is excited by the soup recipe and more so that it came from his home town, Columbus OH! Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Didn’t realize he was from Columbus! Let me know how you like the soup–I’ve got a whole pot of it in my fridge for the weekend!

  2. If I wanted to make this a meat free soup – how else can I add the depth and smoky flavor that comes from the smoked ham?

    • That’s a great question. Nothing will quite replace that nice smoky flavor of good ham. However, you can leave it out and, I might try adding just a hint of smoked paprika (use the sweet, not the hot spicy variety). Add very gradually starting with an 1/8th of a teaspoon and tasting it before adding more. I hope this helps. Let me know how it turns out if you try it.

  3. Hi – looking forward to making this soup for my mom who is in rehab (in Columbus, OH) and hating the food. Years ago when I was in school at OSU between (71-75) there was a boy, named Phillip, I think, who attended the Indianola Preschool (Ithink). His last name was Rosbottom and wasn’t sure if you were connected but he is the only child I remember from undergrad and remember him calling me “Phillips” ! Anyway, he was a delight.

    • I hope your mom will enjoy this soup–it’s really comforting. Our son’s name is Michael so that might be the youngster you’re thinking of from way back then. We came to Cols in 73!

    • Thank you so much for your kind note. So glad you like my books and hope you have a chance to see my newest, Sunday Casseroles, which just came out!

  4. I used to read you in the Columbus Dispatch and was sorry when you were gone. I found a recipe for an artichoke bruschetta that my husband and I enjoy often.

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