Black-Eyed Pea Soup (with Ham and Chicken)

This gluten-free, dairy-free Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Ham and Chicken recipe is one that I adapted from a slow cooker recipe of one of my favorite gluten-free bloggers who also happens to be one of my very favorite people. That would be Stephanie of A Year of Slow Cooking. For a year, Stephanie literally cranked out crockpot recipes day after day—without fail. Now she stays busy with so many other things including two other blogs (that makes three in total), a new baby (that makes three children), a hubby, and so much more. However, she still gives us, her loyal readers, enough recipes on her slow cooking blog to keep us happy. All of her recipes are gluten free, but I love that so many of them are naturally gluten free. That’s a large part of the gfe approach. For one thing, it just makes life easier not to have to remember to order a case of gluten-free X or to have to run out to get gluten-free Y, particularly since there are no gluten-free specialty items in my grocery store. So, in my opinion, cooking with real food just makes sense for convenience. That may seem contradictory to many, but it’s true. But let’s get to my latest favorite recipe of Stephanie’s.

Stephanie posted a Black-Eyed Pea Soup recipe  for New Year’s Day. I have loved black-eyed peas long before they were the name of a hip musical group. Give me some black-eyed peas and I’ve got a wonderful meal. So, this recipe has been in the back of my mind. With a support group meeting coming up, I wanted a dish that would serve many, but I wanted to use mostly what I had on hand. Stephanie’s recipe calls for spiced sausage, but I didn’t have any. My mom and my sister always save the ham bones from holiday meals for me so I can use them to make soup from scratch. Sometime that’s potato soup, but more often than not, it’s a soup that combines veggies and other meat, like chicken or turkey (or sometimes small amounts of several meats, like in my Everything Soup). My sister had given me a nice big ham bone, with a decent amount of meat left on it. The freezer yield two chicken carcasses. I also had a big bag of carrots and package of celery in the refrigerator just waiting for some action.

I added a few inches of water to my big stockpot and brought it to a boil and then added my frozen chicken carcasses. I let them simmer for a while as I did other things in the kitchen. Occasionally, I’d stir them, and finally I turned the burner off and left the lid on a while. Once I was sure the meat was ready to be picked off the bone, I put a colander inside another stockpot and poured the whole pot through the colander. My lovely broth was in the pot and the chicken—bones and all—remained in the colander. Once that cooled a few minutes, I picked the chicken off the bone and set it aside. This is really a great way to get the most from a chicken and not have waste. Even if I buy a rotisserie chicken at the store, I know we will eat a few meals from the chicken before I freeze it and it eventually gets turned into great broth and other meals. So even at a price of $6.99 for a rotisserie chicken, I can end up with several meals and at least a quart of chicken broth. That sounds like a bargain when you look at it that way. So imagine what a savings, roasting your own chicken could be. I often make broth from my chicken carcasses; then I use the “found” chicken for soup or other favorites like chicken pot pie and chicken and rice casserole. However, feel free to use safe packaged chicken broth and chicken from cooked chicken breasts, etc. for this recipe.

Black-Eyed Pea Soup (with Ham and Chicken)
  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas (I don’t recommend using canned as a substitution, but fresh or frozen would work well)
  • 1 ham bone (ideally, with some meat remaining on it)
  • 2 cups, cut-up chicken
  • 2 diced onions
  • 2 cups diced or sliced carrots (I prefer slices, but I halve the larger slices)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 6 cloves garlic (I used 3 tbsp minced garlic)
  • 6 – 8 cups of chicken broth (I used my homemade broth and just kept adding until my crockpot was almost full)
  • ½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt (any salt will work though)
  1. Soak your beans overnight. Drain and pick out the undesirables (e.g., discolored beans) in the morning.
  2. Use a 5- to 6- quart crockpot. (I used my 6-quart oval programmable crockpot.) This recipe will serve a lot. It served at least a dozen folks at my support group meeting. (We had about 25 folks, but not all ate soup. Those who did enjoyed at least one full mug.)
  3. Dice the veggies, and add them to the crockpot with the black-eyed peas that have been soaked and drained.
  4. Pour in broth, and stir in Italian seasoning and salt.
  5. Add ham bone. You can also add the chicken at this point, or save it until closer to the end of cooking time. As your chicken is already cooked, it’s your preference on when you want to add it. I did add mine at the beginning and the soup was great, but adding it at the end would have also worked and kept the chicken in nice little chunks.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 6. About a half hour to an hour before serving, use an immersible blender to smash up about 1 cup of beans. If you don't have an immersible blender, scoop out 1 cup of beans, blend them in a traditional blender, and add back to the soup. You will really only need to blend for a few seconds. Stir after blending. The soup will thicken and have the most wonderful color.
This recipe was adapted from Stephanie O’Dea at A Year of Slow Cooking. If you don't want to use ham, but would like the flavor, Better than Bouillon makes a ham base that could be used. Probably a teaspoon or two would add some nice flavor. If you'd like fewer servings or would like to use a smaller crockpot, don’t just halve this recipe. You’ll want the same amount of black-eyed peas, 2 cups of meat, 4 cups of broth, and about the same amount of seasonings. Be sure to take a look at Stephanie’s recipe, too, which serves 8. Stephanie suggests adding Tabasco sauce to taste after you’ve ladled your soup into your bowl. We enjoyed it without, but if you like to add a little zip to your soup, that might be an option for you. Any time, we want a little taste of hot at our house, we tend to add some Texas Pete hot sauce. Many of the peppers used in Texas Pete are grown locally.

I have two cooking confessions. Confession #1—This is the very first time I’ve ever soaked black-eyed peas. I’ve always used canned black-eyed peas before, although one has to be careful to find good ones. (Some canned black-eyed peas are very mushy and come in a thick unappetizing broth. Other brands contain just black-eyed peas in salted water and taste pretty good.) These dried black-eyed peas are far better than any of the canned varieties and almost seem dainty in comparison, even after soaking. As Alta added in comments, fresh black-eyed peas are the very best when you can get those. She said that frozen black-eyed peas come in a close second. As both Alta and Stephanie said, black-eyed peas offer a wonderful, earthy flavor. I’ll definitely be using more dried black-eyed peas. I’ve never even seen frozen black-eyed peas before, but I’ll look for those, too. One benefit of using dried black-eyed peas is that like other dried beans, they are very inexpensive.

Confession #2—I’ve never used an immersion or “stick” blender before. I’ve had one stashed in a cabinet for years. Son had received one as a gift for dorm life for making milkshakes and such. That involved what he considered to be work, so he left it behind for me to use instead. When Steph’s recipe called for this type of blender, I pulled it out and was delighted at how well it worked. I’ll be using that blender a lot more for soups, sauces, etc.

Several readers commented on Stephanie’s post that they didn’t even like black-eyed peas, but loved this soup. So, if you’re not a black-eyed pea lover, you still might want to give this soup a try. Several of my members commented on how much they enjoyed this soup the other night. I heard the words “comforting” and “homey.” On a cold evening with alternating rain drops and snow flakes, this soup was indeed very welcome. Even those who didn’t comment must have enjoyed it, because there was little left from the full slow cooker. I served this soup with mini-corn muffins and that made for a great combination.

Because soup always thickens in the refrigerator overnight, I added some leftover chicken broth to make my mug of soup for lunch yesterday. For dinner with these leftovers though, I’ll just reheat the thickened soup and serve it over some mashed potatoes. The thickened soup would also be great over rice over or noodles. If you’re looking for some other great soup recipes, be sure to head over to Linda’s What can I eat that’s gluten free? roundup where soup is the theme this week. I already took a peek and there are some terrific, new recipes … like Diane’s West African Chicken and Peanut Stew  and Jenn’s Osso Buco Stew. I love it when there are so many recipes that make your mouth water, that you’re not sure which one to try next. Linda had a great idea with her soup challenge!

What else is happening?

Chaya is hosting her first giveaway over at her Sweet and Savory blog … a Paula Deen cooking ensemble. Check it out here.

Diane’s Friday Foodie Fix tomorrow features rice recipes. If there’s something most of us who are gluten free know about, it’s rice! Be sure to link up your favorite rice recipe and check out others here. Diane is also doing a survey and soliciting input right now on eating out gluten free.

This Sunday is the Academy Awards show where those golden Oscars get presented. If you hadn’t had time before, take a few minutes to check out our Gluten-Free Progressive Oscar Dinner Party. You can see all the links at my two posts for this event: Veronica’s Pumpkin Soup or Southern Fried Oysters.

Ginger hosted The Gluten-Free Lifestyle Blog Carnival this month. See all the entries at her site, Ging Recommends. Created by Kim, The Food Allergy Coach, this carnival features recipes, tips, reviews, and so much more. Take the time to read what’s been submitted here and consider adding your own links next month.

I enjoyed seeing the tropical vacation meals in this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! carnival over at Bean’s Without Adornment. Anything associated with the tropics is very appealing to me right now. There are some fabulous meals and even a few drinks that are so worthy of those cute, colorful little umbrellas. Get tropical here.

Next month’s Go Ahead Honey is being hosted by Amy over at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Her theme is Guiltless Pleasures. Being the Slightly Indulgent queen on Tuesdays, she’s now going to take us to the next level! (Check out this week’s Slightly Indulgent entries here.) Fellow bloggers, start planning your post now. (You can read the rules here.) Readers look for Amy’s roundup at the end of the month. I have enough guilty pleasures already, so some guiltless ones will be very nice!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, What can I eat that’s gluten free?, Crockpot Wednesdays, Pennywise Platter, Simply Hot Recipes, and Friday Foodie Fix–Carrots.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


32 Responses to “Black-Eyed Pea Soup (with Ham and Chicken)”

  1. Alta on March 4th, 2010 2:22 pm

    I am a huge fan of blackeyed peas (and any bean plus ham combo, truly), but I didn’t love them until I discovered fresh blackeyed peas. Fresh is a million times better than canned or dried! Frozen is a close second though – you should try frozen sometime. They cook up within an hour, which is great. They also retain all of that earthiness that I love.
    So glad you’re on board with the immersion blender! It’s one of my favorite tools in the kitchen – no more pouring in batches in the blender. It is a wonderful tool to whisk together salad dressings too.
    Definitely going to have to make one last pot of soup like this before it warms up. Looks amazing.

    • Shirley on March 4th, 2010 5:07 pm

      Oh, Alta, I agree about fresh black-eyed peas! I adore them … so delicious. I just don’t often get them. Now frozen … I don’t know if my basic grocery store even has frozen ones, but I’ll look and I can certainly pick them up at the upscale grocery in town. :-) Thanks so much for mentioning them!

      I feel so silly about the immersion blender. But, I love that I’m still discovering new things about cooking and new tools in the kitchen. Life never has to be dull at all!

      Thanks again for adopting me for the Adopt-A-Gluten-Free Blogger event! Your words really humbled me. I’m so grateful.


  2. Gluten FREE foods ROCK on March 4th, 2010 7:24 pm

    Looks good

    • Shirley on March 5th, 2010 8:49 pm

      Thanks, April. Nice to see you! :-)


  3. Stephanie O'Dea on March 5th, 2010 10:33 am

    oh Shirley, you made my morning!
    I wish I lived close enough to attend your support group—it sounds absolutely wonderful, and your friends delightful.

    The soup looks marvelous.

    xxo steph

    • Shirley on March 5th, 2010 8:52 pm

      Hey Stephanie– :-) Oh, wouldn’t that be fun if we lived nearby?! You would love my group and friends. We have such a great time together and the food rocks. ;-)

      So glad I was able to make a worthy variation of your soup. It’s my new favorite!



  4. Linda on March 5th, 2010 10:39 am

    We’re not big fans of beans, and I’ve never had black eyed pea soup. It does look good, though. Maybe, I’ll give it a try. Shirley, I really love it when you do “What else is happening.” I have trouble keeping up with what is happening where and when. Thank you for putting it all together in one place for me.

    • Shirley on March 5th, 2010 8:55 pm

      Hi Linda–Honestly, I really don’t consider black-eyed peas to be beans. I think of them as peas, and they seem too delicate to be called beans. In the end I don’t care what you call them, they are just good. ;-)

      I so appreciate the feedback about What else is happening? Otherwise, I’d think I was just rambling on like usual … not being able to gracefully close out a post. LOL There is so much wonderful stuff going on, I like sharing it and then it’s in one spot for my reference, too. :-)

      Happy Friday, Linda!


  5. Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free on March 5th, 2010 6:13 pm

    I have been thinking about what to make with black eyed peas…this looks perfect. I adore bean soups for so many reasons, but especially for their ease of preparation and simplicity.

    Thanks for all the latest gluten-free happenings, Shirley!!

    • Shirley on March 5th, 2010 9:00 pm

      Hi Amy–You’re a doll to take time from your jam-packed schedule to make a comment! :-) I hope you love this soup as much as I do. And, I’m so glad you, too, enjoy the gf happenings!

      Good luck on those latest exams!


  6. Ginny on March 6th, 2010 1:22 pm

    Hi Amy, love your blog!! This black-eyed pea soup will be made soon. My mouth is watering already. Looks so yummy. I’m a Southern girl and do love my black-eyed peas.

    I just went gluten-free permanently. (I hope!. I should have years ago, but was stubborn, and love to bake bread. I still bake regular bread for my husband, but am now learning the gluten-free thing.

    I’m going to link to your blog on mine. For sure I’ll want to check frequently to see what you’re up to.

    Thanks, (o:Ginny

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2010 5:06 pm

      Hi Ginny–Welcome to gfe! I’m Shirley, not Amy, but perhaps you were just visiting one of my friends and favorite bloggers, Amy Green, over at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. ;-) However, you got here, I’m glad to see you! LOL Yes, Southern girls do love black-eye peas (in general). They are delicious, although today I’m “cheating” on them and going for kidney beans and black beans in my chili. ;-)

      Congrats on going gluten free permanently! That’s the way to go. You can learn to make great bread gluten free. Even your hubby will love it, and then you’ll have less chance of cross contamination. Flour stays airborne up to 48 hours. Folks are raving over the cookbook, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day, for its gluten-free chapter. Might be worth checking out so you can make bread you both can enjoy.

      I’ll check out your blog. Thanks for the link! I appreciate it. You can also subscribe via email or a reader at the right of my header. That way you don’t miss anything either. :-)

      Look forward to seeing you here more, Ginny! Best,

  7. Jenn on March 7th, 2010 7:50 am

    I’ve actually never cooked with black-eyed peas before, this looks so comforting! By the way I love your soup bowl as well!

    • Shirley on March 7th, 2010 5:08 pm

      Hi Jenn–Thanks so much for stopping by! I really appreciate your kind words. I think you’d love black-eyed peas. I’m assuming you can get them. I know you’ve mentioned not being able to get certain items. If you find some, I’ll look forward to your experimenting with them. :-)


  8. Chaya on March 8th, 2010 11:16 pm

    Thanks for mentioning the Giveaway. I want some of our GF people to have an equal opportunity to win, even though, it is not in my GF blog. It is over on the tenth.

  9. Chelsey on March 19th, 2010 9:58 am

    Oh this looks perfect for one of those snowed in days where you just sit at home and visit with a hot mug of soup, one of your lovely corn muffins and visit bedside the fireplace. This is what dreams are made of!

    • Shirley on March 19th, 2010 10:47 am

      Hi Chelsey–Thanks! It was very good. Comfort food that was healthy. I see myself making the recipe often. :-)


  10. Jennifer R. on March 23rd, 2010 8:19 pm

    Hey Shirley, I’m behind on my reading :)
    Just wanted to chime in that the soup was delicious at your meeting. I’ll definitely be making that at our house sometime!

    • Shirley on March 23rd, 2010 11:40 pm

      Thanks so much, Jennifer! I’m quite a fan of this soup. Hoping I’ll get a ham bone from mom at Easter so I can make it again. ;-) Hope all your family will enjoy it when you get to make it!


  11. Diane-The W.H.O.L.E. Gang on March 29th, 2010 8:26 am

    So Scott’s family has been trying to get me to eat black eyed peas since we were dating eons ago. I might be persuaded with this recipe but don’t let them know. It would ruin years of hard work. Thank you for sharing this on Friday Foodie Fix.

    • Shirley on March 29th, 2010 9:17 pm

      LOL, Diane, these black-eyed peas in this soup are so delicious. They probably don’t tast at all like you expect. I won’t let anyone in on your secret if you decide you like them. ;-)


  12. Kristin W. on December 8th, 2011 12:12 pm

    This is the second recipe I have made off your blog in 2 weeks and this is another keeper! I made it exactly as above but my chicken stock was a homemade spicy chicken stock. This had amazing flavor. Our dinner table was quiet with this wonderful soup being eaten as fast as possible. I love your site, they are just down home, good recipe’s with readily available ingredients!

    • Shirley on December 11th, 2011 12:32 pm

      Hi Kristin–What a wonderful comment–thank you so very much! Homemade spicy chicken stock sounds just perfect as the base for this soup. Will try that myself … maybe even for tomorrow’s dinner as I have some homemade salsa (added to my basic chicken stock, that would equal spicy, right?), a hambone and turkey in the freezer, and some black-eyed peas in the pantry. :-) I’m truly so glad that you are finding gfe so helpful. I’m committed to showing folks that good gluten-free recipes are easy to make with those readily available ingredients. Nothing weird at all about these recipes, huh? ;-)


      • Kristin W. on January 3rd, 2012 6:50 pm

        Hi Shirly-

        Sorry I am just responding to the spicy chicken stock question. I made a sticky chicken in the crock pot with lots of spices then put the carcas back into the drippings added water until my crock pot was full and made stock from it! It was so amazing as a soup base due to all the extra spices. Here is the recipe I followed I hope you like it as much as my family did.

  13. Ali the Skinny GF Chef on October 10th, 2012 5:52 pm

    Hi Shirley, that looks scrumptious! It reminds me of the Hoppin John I use to make. I’ll have to try this soon. I love black-eyed peas! Hope you’re having a wonderful day. Ali

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