This creamy soup will make you a black-eyed-pea believer

  • Creamy Black Eyed Pea Pea Soup.

    Creamy Black Eyed Pea Pea Soup. Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post

By Joe Yonan
The Washington Post
Updated 1/23/2019 6:22 AM

Sometimes I get the feeling that too many people eat black-eyed peas annually -- on New Year's Day. While I love the Southern tradition of black-eyed peas and rice (hoppin' John), often eaten with greens, I'm here to say that black-eyed peas deserve a place in your repertoire the rest of the year, too.

Don't get caught up in the need to cook them from dried. You can certainly do that if you have the time -- or in a pressure cooker -- but there's no shame in opening a can on any given weeknight. However you get there, black-eyed peas are a no-brainer with rice, of course, or whatever grain you prefer. Their sturdy texture makes them a natural in summery salads, too, and this time of year they can star in soups.

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Take this one, from cookbook author Gennaro Contaldo. It's simple at its core, just a nice combination of aromatic vegetables and herbs, vegetable broth and a can of black-eyed peas, pureed into something creamy but without cream. What takes the dish up a notch is the olive pesto you quickly blitz while the soup cooks. It's sharp and a little crunchy, and when you dollop some on top and stir it in, the soup goes from good to glorious.

Add some bread and/or a salad, and you've got a hearty winter meal. Just don't wait until New Year's Day 2020 to make it, please.

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