In the South, eating black-eyed peas and collard greens for New Year's ensures good luck in the coming year, so this hearty minestrone something of a talisman. The soup freezes well, and that makes it a good large-batch item to prepare when you're not sure how many guests will be showing up.
Servings: 20 cups
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
- 3 quarts low-sodium chicken stock or broth
- 2 tablespoons chicken-flavored soup base, such as Better Than Bouillon brand
- 1 pound smoked turkey necks or wings
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large white or yellow onion
- 4 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 small bunch rosemary
- 1 small bunch thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chipotle-flavored hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco brand, or to taste
- 1 can (28 ounces) peeled plum tomatoes, crushed, with their liquid
- 1 pound collard greens, center veins and stems removed, leaves shredded by hand and cleaned thoroughly
- 1 pound hot Italian turkey sausage , links only, casings removed
- 6 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Soak the black-eyed peas in 8 quarts of water for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Drain and rinse.
In a large stockpot, bring 8 quarts of unsalted water to a boil over medium-high heat; add the drained black-eyed peas. Cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or just until they are tender. Drain, rinse and set aside.
While the peas are cooking, make the minestrone's base: In a large pot over high heat, combine the chicken stock or broth, the soup base and smoked turkey necks or wings. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain the stock into a large bowl and set aside, discarding the solids. (You should have 10 to 12 cups of stock.)
Return the pot to the stove and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until it is smoking. Tie the rosemary and thyme bunches together with kitchen twine and add them to the pot, along with the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaf. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent but not browned. Add the turkey stock, salt, if desired, pepper, sugar, chipotle-flavored hot pepper sauce, tomatoes and their liquid and the drained black-eyed peas. Bring to a boil, then add the greens, stirring until they have wilted. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the greens are tender.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the sausage: In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it is smoking. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes or until cooked through, stirring to break it into chunks. Use a slotted spoon to drain the sausage slightly and to transfer it to the soup pot for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Discard the tied herbs and bay leaf. Garnish each serving of soup with 1 tablespoon of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Adapted from chef and former restaurateur David Hagedorn.
Tested by Jill Grisco.
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