Berbere Seasoned Black-eyed Peas, Greens and Chicken Sausage Soup

The anticipation and dread of deep cold weather is over. It is here with its sharp-slap windy 20 degree days and nights. It will not last long. It will  leave us and then return again and again until it has worn us down. We will have a love-hate thing with it. Our geographic location will save us from a lengthy bout of deep winter, but for now it is here.

Soup, hot steamy bowls of soup. Daily doses are called for to chase off the chill of the season as well as the chill of our political climate. This soup is good for warding off all kinds of chill in these chilly times. Ethiopian Berbere seasoning adds just the right amount of piquant.  You can easily find Berbere in most supermarkets or online these days, but if not then I have added a how-to for making your own in my printable recipe. I wasn’t very familiar with this spice until this past year. I worked on a number of cook books in which some of the recipes called for it. It is now one of my go-to spice blends for many dishes.

To quicken the cooking I used pre-soaked Black-eyed Peas.

A generous portion of  Berbere seasoning was added.

Smoked Chicken-Spinach Sausages well-charred before slicing and adding to the soup.

Serve with your favorite cornbread recipe. Stay warm, stay cozy, eat more soup.

Berbere Seasoned Black-eyed Peas, Greens and Chicken Sausage Soup



  • 24 ounces pre-soaked black-eyed peas or dried peas soaked for a few hours before cooking
  • 32 ounces chicken broth – I used chicken bone broth,  but any will do
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes or any canned tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Berbere seasoning
  • 12 ounces smoked chicken sausages
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • water to add to soup if need be


  1. Char sausages until well browned in a somewhat dry skillet. Slice into bite size pieces. Set aside.
  2. Add chicken stock and black-eyed peas to a soup pot. Bring to boil, turn to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until peas are slightly softened.
  3. Stir in crushed garlic, tomatoes, Berbere seasoning and chicken sausage. Continue to cook on simmer for another 20 minutes. Add more water or broth if soup needs it.
  4. Add in spinach leaves and cook just until wilted.  Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.  Serve hot with your favorite cornbread recipe.

Recipe for making your own Berbere Seasoning (there are many variations of this online but this is a basic one).    Combine all the ingredients in a jar. Shake to blend. Store in jar with tight-fitting lid.

  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup dried red pepper (cayenne, ancho, New Mexican, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon fenugreek powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Teresa Blackburn.


Good Vibes Black-eyed Pea Vegetable Soup…It’s Never Too Late

Some say there is no such thing as “good or bad luck”….maybe so, maybe not.

Do you believe the Southern lore based around  eating black-eyed peas and greens on New Years Day? That doing so will bring you good luck all year?  Is this a tradition to which you adhere?

Other than us all needing as much good luck as we can find, I truly love this humble pea…dried or frozen in the winter, fresh in the summer. See this colander of peas? My good friend, Stephanie gave me a bag of fresh, frozen black-eyed peas from her Mother’s garden in West Tennessee as a holiday gift and I cannot think of many things better.

I started my pot of soup early on New Years Day…letting it simmer with ham pieces, carrots and zucchini. This year I made more of a traditional soup with tomatoes and broth. I tossed in a few handfuls of fresh spinach right at the end.  This is bright colorful recipe.  2017 has been harsh politically, and the world in general could use some “good luck vibes”.  So eat your peas and stir up some good luck….it’s never too late!

Good Vibes Black-eyed Pea Vegetable Soup

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 8 ounces cooked ham cut into small chunks
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced (I used the pretty multicolored carrots)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 small to medium zucchini squash, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a large stock pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Toss in ham, carrots, celery, onion and zucchini and cook just until vegetables are almost soft. Stir often.
  2. Add black-eyed peas, tomatoes and chicken broth. Add 2 cups water. Season with salt and black pepper. Bring pot to a boil, turn to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or just until peas are firm-soft.
  3. Toss in baby spinach leaves and stir into soup. Spinach will wilt quickly.
  4. Serve hot with your favorite cornbread or crackers. Good Luck!


“Black Eyed Peas, Luck and New Rules!”

Black Eyed Pea SoupAre you superstitious? Are there certain beliefs or lore that have to do with luck that you adhere to? In the Southern United States it is a long held belief that cooking and eating Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day will bring you good luck all year. It really doesn’t matter how or if you cook them as long as you at least eat them on New Year’s Eve or Day for yearlong prosperity.

The history is long and the writing is vast on this subject. A simple Google search will give you more information than you can imagine. To intrigue you I will just throw out these separate, yet very connected words & phrases, ” Rosh Hashana”, “American South”, “Shephardi Jews”, “legume”, “George Washington Carver” (bless that man!), and “Georgia”.

Dried Black Eyed Peas

My peas ready to be cooked last year. I am pretty much a “doubting Thomas” when it comes to these things, but I do always try to cook a pot of peas on New Year’s Day…just in case. Do not worry if you don’t get to cook Black Eyed Peas on the eve or day of the New Year. I am making a “new rule for the Modern South”. You can now make your favorite “Black Eyed Peas with Ham Hock”, or “Hoppin” John” or “Peas & Greens with Cornbread” whenever you like and you will still have all the good luck and prosperity that you need for the coming year! I am sure of it. New Rule!

A very easy & delicious “Black Eyed Pea Soup with Ham”


1 lb of dried black eyed peas, 1/4 lb mostly lean ham hock,  1 cup chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves crushed, salt & freshly ground black pepper, 2 cups chicken stock


1. Soak black eyed peas in just enough water to cover them for about 2 hours. Drain. Place peas in a stockpot with fresh water just to cover, the ham hock cut into chunks, onions, garlic cloves, salt & pepper & chicken stock. Bring to a boil, turn to low and simmer until peas are softened, not mushy. This can take around an hour or two. Taste and adjust seasonings.

2. Serve with warm corn muffins & freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano.

Black Eyed Peas with Parmesamn

Black Eyed Pea Soup

Bon Appetit, Buena Suerte and Happy New Year Y’all and thanks for stopping by.

Teresa Blackburn, Food on Fifth