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RECIPES: Soup blends black-eyed peas and sweet potato

by Joe Yonan, The Washington Post | January 18, 2023 at 1:54 a.m.
Sweet Potato and Black-Eyed Pea Soup (For The Washington Post/Tom McCorkle)

This soup from New Orleans chef Serigne Mbaye is creamy, nutty, slightly sweet and has a touch of heat from cayenne. He serves it as a puree, but for a little added visual interest, you can reserve some of the cooked vegetables and beans before blending and use them as a garnish.

Make Ahead: The black-eyed peas need to be soaked for at least 3 and up to 12 hours in advance.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Sweet Potato and Black-Eyed Pea Soup

  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked for at least 3 and up to 12 hours
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 small tomatoes (12 ounces total), cored and chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion (12 ounces), chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (can substitute apple cider vinegar)
  • 3 large sweet potatoes (2 to 2 ½ pounds total), peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons palm oil or coconut oil

Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas.

In a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, garlic, cayenne and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar to deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a spoon.

Add the black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the soup is at a simmer, cover and cook until the black-eyed peas are very soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in the palm or coconut oil, taste, and season with more salt, if needed. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

  photo  When preparing Sweet Potato and Black-Eyed Pea Soup, use a slotted spoon to transfer about 2 cups of the solids to a bowl and reserve for garnish. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (For The Washington Post/Tom McCorkle)  If desired, use a slotted spoon to transfer about 2 cups of the solids to a bowl and reserve for garnish. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.

Divide the soup among bowls, and top each with some of the reserved garnish. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 370 calories, 10 g protein, 16 g fat, 55 g carbohydrate (11 g sugar), no cholesterol, 300 mg sodium and 13 g fiber.

Adapted from chef Serigne Mbaye's recipe in "The Blue Zones American Kitchen" by Dan Buettner (National Geographic, 2022)

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