As I sit here with my first coffee of 2012, I’m full of hope. This always happens to me at the start of a new year. My head tells me it’s silly and yet I embrace those first few days of every new year as a clean slate of sorts and eagerly anticipate what lies ahead. And this year in particular, it’s more exciting than any recent year.
2011 was not a bad year. We had some great times with great friends, we got to take a fantastic road trip and see people we love along the way, I started culinary school (something I’d wanted to do for a very long time), Collin started high school, Ty took a job with the Apple store. Many good things made the year a true success.
2012 is a little fuzzy but big things could certainly happen. I made the statement this morning that it was too big of a year NOT to eat Black-eyed peas today. This is how I feel. Big things will happen and the luck can go either way. I’ll be making my New Year’s Day soup and eating my black-eyed peas. Even though I’m not really superstitious, sometimes you just don’t want to tempt fate. And this morning when I went to the grocery store, I got the last two cans of black-eyed peas on the shelf. See… good luck is starting already.
New Years Day Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 parsnips, small dice
2 ribs celery, small dice
1 medium onion, small dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
2 cans black-eyed peas, undrained
4 cups chicken broth
Rind of parmesan cheese (optional) *When I use parmesan, I always freeze the rind to have on hand. It’s a great addition to things like this but the soup will be delicious without it.
2 (14.5 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (8-oz) can green chilies
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Hot pepper sauce to taste
In a large stock pot, heat the oil. Saute the parsnips until soft. Add the celery and onion and continue cooking until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add bay leaves, sausage, peas, broth, tomatoes, green chilies and tomato sauce. Bring mixture to a boil then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in spinach and season to taste with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce to taste.
Serve with cornbread.