One of the reasons I truly love winter is that it's the perfect opportunity to create big batches of scrumptious soups. With kids who love, or rather are obsessed with, grilled cheese, and my own passion for homemade cornbread and biscuits, soups really fit right into our weekly menu planning.
Soups and stews may seem to take a long time to cook, but they are one of those dishes that take one night of labor to create many nights of hearty, healthy soup love - for the next day, or even the rest of the week.
Soupin' things up can also mean planning for the long-run, too. You can create enough, if you like, to freeze and save for that rainy day or when the cook needs a night off.
Hearty, healthy and flexible for anyone's diet restrictions or choices, soups really can warm up the soul.
Twinkle's Southern Soul Food Stew:
I'm a Southern gal, so one soup I love making in the winter is made up of all the things I love grown in the summer, in Mississippi.
Peas, greens, and cornbread are one of my staple meals, and if I'm lucky, I've remembered to put up some peas before the season is over, or lucky enough to know someone who has.
You can use canned black-eyed peas or dried peas if you are unable to find fresh frozen black-eyed peas. When using canned peas, make sure to rinse before adding to your stew. For dried peas - rinse and sort, then soak in room temp water in a large bowl overnight.
Winter greens are mostly readily available, and cornbread and biscuits, well those are year-round staples in our house.
What you'll need:
- Large Dutch oven or 8 qt. stew pot
- 2 cups fresh (or frozen-fresh) black-eyed peas or field peas
- 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 large cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 4 strips of bacon (optional – omit for vegetarian version]
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small jalapeño, minced, seeds removed
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 bunch collard greens, stems and ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
- 4 medium-sized carrots, chopped
- ½ cup okra, chopped
- 1 tsp. sea salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
Fry your bacon for about five minutes in your stock pot or Dutch oven, then add the olive oil and sauté diced onions, celery, garlic and jalapeño for approximately five more minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add your chopped okra, collards, carrots into the pot and sauté, turning heat down to low, for about 10 minutes.
Once the greens have begun to wilt, begin adding the stock.
Let the stew cook for about 10 minutes on medium low, then add in the peas and reduce heat to low. Simmer for another 30 minutes, checking every so often to stir.
Crank up the heat to medium for about 20 more minutes, adding salt to your liking and fresh cracked pepper.
Serve with some hot baked cornbread or biscuits, or over rice.
*Pro-Tip: One Southern tradition – superstition *cough cough* – I grew up following was making sure I ate Black Eyed Peas on New Year's Day. It's said that if you do, you'll have good luck for the year to come, and those magical legumes will make you smarter and better lookin' as well. You can make the New Year's Day traditional Southern dish Hoppin' John by adding 1 cup stewed tomatoes and 1 cup cooked rice to the Southern Soul Stew recipe.
More warm winter recipes from Twinkle:
- Twinkle's Kitchen: Slow Cooker Chili
- Twinkle's Kitchen: Chicken Noodle Soup
- Twinkle's Kitchen: Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup
- Twinkle's Kitchen: Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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