Sunday, May 23, 2010

Texas caviar soup

I'm not sure where I first got the idea for a pureed black-eyed pea soup with salsa fresca.

While I may have copied another chef's creation off of a TV food show like Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, I like to believe that the soup is my own creation. But I doubt that's true.

Texas caviar is the inspiration for my rendition of the spicy soup. Instead of marinating black-eyed peas in a zesty vinaigrette with red onion, celery, sweet bell pepper and garlic, I separated the dish into its basic components -- beans and salsa.

The soup was a hit with the residents at work. The addition of chipoltle peppers gave the pureed bean soup a smooth smokey feel it it.

The star of the dish was a fresh salsa garnish. While most residents enjoy a more traditional tomato salsa with roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapeno chilies, chopped fine in the food processor, this salsa is a bit chunkier.


This recipe uses the "hot soak" method of cooking black-eyed peas that's recommended by the California Dry Bean Board.

2 pounds black-eyed peas
3 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
3 chipotle peppers with adobo sauce, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste

4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste

Place black-eyed peas a heavy 8-quart stockpot or Dutch oven and cover with sufficient water. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Discard water.

Add 3 quarts chicken or vegetable stock, chipoltes, chili powder, cumin, coriander and granulated garlic to peas. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until peas are tender.

Meanwhile, make salsa. Combine tomatoes, onion, chilies, garlic, lemon juice and cilantro in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Puree black-eyed peas with cooking liquid in food processor or blender until smooth. Thin with a little water or stock if puree is too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return puree to stockpot and keep warm over low heat.

To serve, ladle 8-ounces soup into each bowl. Spoon 1 or 2 tablespoons salsa on soup. Dizzle with hot chili oil if desired.

Makes about 1 gallon.

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