I love the fresh flavor of purple hull peas! Did you know that they are the younger, sexier version of black-eyed peas? Purple hull peas will dry and become black-eyed peas if they’re left on the vine. Black-eyed peas are good too. They’re just well, older and wiser. I feel so lucky to be able to enjoy this Southern legume when it’s young and fresh!
Oh and here’s another fun fact about legumes. Did you know that they put nitrogen back into the soil? By planting legumes as a cover crop, our local farmers are putting nitrogen into the soil naturally– no commercial fertilizers needed! As a city girl who’s learning about this local food and farming stuff along with my Local Box, I find that fascinating.
This Cajun Purple Hull Pea Soup With Shrimp is a great way to celebrate the frigid temps we’ve had the past few days. (Did I just say ‘celebrate the frigid temps’?) Well, we can celebrate Cajun-style cooking for Mardi Gras, anyway.
This soup is spicy! If you prefer a less spicy version, you can substitute paprika for the cayenne pepper.
1/2 large onion, minced
1-2 celery stalks and leaves, finely sliced
2 hot peppers (like jalapenos,) minced (use 1/4 c. bell pepper for no spice)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 t. dried thyme
1 t. ground black pepper
1 t. salt
1 t. cayenne pepper or paprika
32 oz. organic chicken stock
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 c. water
2-3 c. fresh purple hull peas
1 bunch fresh spinach (or other green), washed, chopped
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 lb. wild caught shrimp, shelled and de-veined
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cayenne pepper or paprika
Hot sauce, if desired
1. In a large saucepan, sautee onion, pepper, and celery in 2 T. oil until soft. Add minced garlic and sautee for about 20 more seconds.
2. Add chicken stock, tomato sauce, water, spices, salt, and purple hull peas to the saucepan (or combine with onion mixture in a slow cooker.) Simmer for 45 min.-1 hr. on med/low heat, or until peas are cooked.
4. Add chopped spinach and lime juice during last 10 minutes of cooking.
5. While soup is simmering, heat 1 T. olive oil in a skillet. When it’s hot, add shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes and turn over. Cook for 1-2 more minutes. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper. (You can also broil or bake the shrimp if you prefer.)
6. Add cooked shrimp to soup just before serving. Season with hot sauce to taste.