Let me say up front that I’m not particularly superstitious. Ladders, black cats, the number 13… we’re cool. I realize the tradition of eating certain foods on the first day of the year is rooted in superstition, but for me it’s really a family tradition. My grandfather was all about eating some black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, and now I am, too.
The lucky tradition goes way back, though it appears it’s mostly a Southern thing, swiped from a Jewish thing. There are other foods that people eat on this day for luck, but the peas are the only one I care about. My grandfather also did “greens for money,” but that tradition hasn’t held on as tightly. This year, however, I’ve managed to incorporate greens, though not of the collard, turnip, or mustard variety. Kale and spinach are still green, so imma say that counts.
Before I move on to the recipe, I promised I would share what my Aldi total ended up running. I managed to get everything on the list, plus sparkling wine for NYE and the cat litter I completely forgot I needed until I saw it on the shelf, for $65.51.
Well, almost everything.
I really should have known better. I’ve been shopping at Aldi for years now, but my brain did not compute that my usual Saturday shopping trip was the day before New Year’s Eve. They had everything I needed in stock, except…
Doh! Now, normally I would just say “eh” and substitute some pintos or kidneys, but this tradition calls for a very specific bean, and Aldi was completely sold out of them. Le sigh. I ended up stopping at Publix on the way home and buying a one pound bag of black-eyed peas, adding another $1.37 to my total.
The recipe only calls for half a pound, but I went ahead and made the whole bag in my pressure cooker so that I would have the other half for lunches this week.
Aldi doesn’t sell ground Italian sausage, so I just buy the links and then cut the casings open. The original recipe called for 1.5 quarts of chicken broth, but I used 2 quarts of vegetable broth because it was a tad cheaper, and as you know I was on a budget here. I also had a bit of leftover spinach from a recipe the other day, so I added that in along with the kale since I had no other plans for it and didn’t want it to go to waste. More greens, more money? One can hope!
A note about Aldi kale. The bag of organic kale comes pre-washed and chopped, but they do not remove all of the bulky, fibrous stems. I just dumped the remainder of the bag into my soup, but in hindsight I would take the time to remove any extra thick stems before adding to the soup. As it were, I ended up burning my fingers trying to pick them out after they were added to the hot broth. The big stems aren’t really edible, so you don’t want them in your soup.
My husband also mentioned that he would like the soup better if the greens were chopped a little more finely. He felt like they were a bit too bulky and made it harder to get on the spoon. I thought it was fine as-is, but next time I’ll add that step to see if it makes a difference.
At the last minute I threw in some red pepper flakes because the extra heat just sounded good. Y’all. I really liked this soup. It may be my favorite black-eyed pea variation I’ve made so far, and I’m 99% sure I’ll be repeating it next year. The fact that it’s cold as a mamma-jamma here probably helped, because let me tell you, soup hit the spot.
Sausage, Kale, and Black-Eyed Pea Soup
- 1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas, prepared according to package directions
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces mild Italian sausage, removed from casing
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- zest from 1 lime
- 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 bag SimplyNature kale, chopped (plus additional greens as desired)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- Step 1 Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until brown, breaking it up into smaller pieces.
- Step 2 Add onion and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, and lime zest and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Add broth and bay leaves.
- Step 3 Add black-eyed peas to pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
- Step 4 Discard bay leaves. Add kale (remove any large stems first) and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. If you want some extra heat, add red pepper flakes. Serve hot.