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Spicy black-eyed pea soup

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A Palatable Pastime

(Read caption) Give a bowl of black-eyed pea soup a Cajun kick with spicy sausage and Tobasco sauce.

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This is a really good low-budget soup, although that shouldn’t be the reason you want to make this. Sometimes people call this black-eyed "bean" soup and it is a lot like bean soup. But these little legumes are not beans but peas.

I have loved them since I was a child and was always glad to have more while my brothers shirked them. As an adult, I know how to really make them sing to my heart, and I love this soup especially with a couple squirts of green jalapeno sauce in it. I have no real explanation, but black-eyed peas and jalapenos are a match made in heaven.

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I made this soup with an andouille-style smoked sausage, but Polish or just plain smoked sausage would do fine, or even something like little smokies. But it also pairs well with pork roast or pulled smoke pork, smoked turkey or even ham. Many meats are excellent as a flavoring in this.

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Of course, if you are a vegetarian, you can omit the meat and use a good quality vegetable base as a flavoring. Don't even bother with trying to replace the meat at all, the black-eyed peas give this soup plenty of hearty flavor and texture.

Spicy black-eyed pea soup

Soak: 6 hours

Cook: 8 hours in the slow cooker

Serves: 8-12

16 ounces dried black-eyed peas

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1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped carrots or 1 cup chopped bell pepper (may mix)

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 to 2 bay leaves

1 lb. smoked sausage or 1 lb andouille sausages or 1 lb. kielbasa, cut into chunks

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon cajun spices or 1 tablespoon spice essence

49-1/2 ounces chicken broth (large can)

Cayenne pepper sauce or Tabasco sauce, to taste

1. Sort peas and soak in plenty of water overnight. Before cooking, drain and rinse.

2. Place all ingredients into crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until peas are nicely tender.

3. Remove bay leaves before serving.

4. Serve with additional Tabasco, if desired.

Note: You can always use the 3 minute boil on the peas as a head start if you forget to soak overnight. You can cook legumes without soaking them, it just takes longer.