Smoky black-eyed pea and sausage soup

Smoky black-eyed pea and sausage soup | Homesick Texan

A few weeks ago I was visiting family in Oregon. I was staying at my dad’s and as a fellow homesick Texan who enjoys spending time in the kitchen, he has an extensive collection of cookbooks on Texan cuisine. One morning I was flipping through one of his books and saw a recipe for black bean enchiladas. I thought to myself, “That would be fun to make with black-eyed peas for New Year’s Day,” and then started scribbling down notes.

After I returned to New York, I started testing my recipe for black-eyed pea enchiladas. Like most enchilada dishes made from scratch, there were lots of pots, pans, and dishes involved, as well as a list of ingredients as long as my arm. After several hours of cooking and assembling, (with a few emergency trips to the grocery store thrown in for additional ingredients) when I finally sat down to actually taste the enchiladas, I was completely underwhelmed.

Now, it’s not that the enchiladas tasted terrible—I mean, how bad can a molten stack of corn tortillas, salsa, black-eyed peas, and cheese be? But I didn’t love them and after all that time and effort invested, I felt I should be happier about the enchiladas. Perhaps it was that old problem of the cook never appreciating her own food, but I usually enjoy what I make and these did not make me smile.

Smoky black-eyed pea and sausage soup | Homesick Texan

So, it was back to the kitchen if I was going to come up with something new to serve for the New Year. Fortunately, I still had some dried black-eyed peas on hand, as well as bacon, smoky kielbasa, and a bundle of kale. If I added some smoky chipotle chiles and a few spices, I figured I had the workings of a very good soup.

To keep it easy, I basically threw everything into one pot, walked away, and an hour or so later, I had a hearty and delicious soup. After sneaking a few bites as it cooked, I couldn’t wait to sit down and tuck into my own bowl. It didn’t take a lot of effort but this smoky black-eyed pea and sausage soup was deeply satisfying. I was over the moon.

Okay, I will admit it wasn’t a complete throw-it and leave-it dish. There was some soaking of the black-eyed peas, and I browned the meats and cooked the aromatics before walking away. Likewise, I didn’t add the kale until the end, along with a generous shake of smoked paprika and apple cider vinegar for more smoke and brightness, but for the most part, after my exhausting enchilada adventure, this smoky black-eyed pea and sausage soup was an easy one-pot dish. Sometimes simpler is indeed best.

(Some of you may want to know if this can be made in a slow cooker. Because I don’t have a slow cooker I haven’t tested the recipe in one, but I assume you could just throw everything in the pot and let it go. That said, I think it just might be time to finally get a slow cooker, and if you have any recommendations for one please let me know!)

Smoky black-eyed pea and sausage soup | Homesick Texan

It’s all here—black-eyed peas, pork, and greens—the three things you need to eat on New Year’s Day to ensure your good fortune and happiness. That said, you don’t have to be celebrating a New Year to enjoy this smoky black-eyed pea and sausage soup. Whether you serve it over rice, with cornbread, or simply on its own, this rustic and hearty soup is a fine addition to my rotation of cold-weather dishes. And if you share warm bowls of it with your loved ones this winter, I’m sure they’ll agree.

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Smoky black-eyed pea and sausage soup | Homesick Texan
5 from 3 votes

Smoky black-eyed pea and sausage soup

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 8 ounces thick-cut uncooked bacon, cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 1 pound smoked sausage such as kielbasa, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 lacinato or dinosaur kale, ribs removed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Rice, for serving (optional)
  • Cornbread, for serving (optional)


  1. Place the black-eyed peas in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the peas soak for 1 hour.
  2. Rinse and drain the black-eyed peas and leave them in the colander. In the same large pot, wipe out any excess water, and then add the bacon and sausage to the pot. While stirring occasionally, cook on medium heat until the fat is rendered from the bacon and it’s just starting to crisp, and the sausage has browned. Remove the bacon and sausage from the pot with a slotted spatula and place into a large bowl.
  3. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of grease from the pot, saving the excess for another use. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the onion and celery and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chopped chipotle chiles and cook for 30 more seconds.
  4. Pour the water into the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the cooked bits. Return to the pot the black-eyed peas, bacon, and sausage. Add to the pot the bay leaf, salt, cumin, thyme, clove, and cayenne. Stir until everything is well combined. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, partially cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour.
  5. After an hour, remove the lid and test the black-eyed peas to see if they’re tender. Depending on the age of the peas, they could be soft at this point or they may need to cook a bit longer. If they need to cook longer, test them every 15 minutes or so.
  6. Once the peas are cooked, to make the broth creamier, smash some of the peas with the back of a spoon on the side of the pot. Once this is done, stir in the kale, apple cider vinegar, and smoked paprika. Taste and adjust seasonings. (I usually add at least another teaspoon of salt at this point, but that’s dependent on how salty the sausage and bacon is.) Cook for 10 more minutes or until the kale has wilted. Serve warm, with rice and/or cornbread if you prefer, though it’s just fine on it’s own.

Recipe Notes

I used water as my liquid to keep it simple, but chicken broth or vegetable broth would be excellent with this. A bottle of beer added could be interesting, too.

  1. Looks delicious! I love the abundance of New Year's recipes on this site.

    I'm thinking of subbing collards for the kale, just to keep things even more traditional–would you simmer them for just a bit longer than the kale, or add them earlier on in the recipe?

  2. Lisa Fain

    Laura–Yes, collards take longer to soften so I'd throw them in about 45 minutes into the recipe. I'd probably add 1/2 cup to a cup more liquid, too, just to keep the pot from being too crowded.

  3. Derek H

    I will definitely be trying this recipe at some point, but for the third year in a row it's Good Fortune Soup for me. It is an amazing recipe, so amazing in fact, all my friends and family have already contacted me to reserve their very own bowl. Ha! As always, Thanks Lisa and Happy New Year to you!!

  4. Lisa Fain

    Derek–You can't go wrong with the Good Fortune Soup! Happy New Year!

  5. Debby Foodiewife

    I was just thinking, this morning, about making some black eyed peas, and then you posted this fantastic soup! I have a slow cooker, but I strongly urge you to invest in a digital pressure cooker. Seriously. I could make this soup in 20 minutes, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. Pressure cooked beans are awesome and fast! Happy New Year!

  6. Lisa Fain

    Debby–Thank you for the advice! I hadn't even considered getting a pressure cooker.

  7. Mike Jacobson

    How would you adapt this for a slow cooker?

  8. Lisa Fain

    Mike–Well, I haven't tested this in a slow cooker, but I reckon after browning the meat and aromatics throw everything in and cook on low for a few hours.

  9. Anonymous

    Lisa, thank you! I'll be using fresh frozen blackeyes from our summer garden. We had a ton! And my homesick Texan goddaughter and I love sharing our praises of your Family Table recipes!

  10. Poetryman

    Looks and sounds darned tasty! Should be good luck too.

  11. Pamela Sinclair

    This is a great recipe, especially for a slow cooker – simply pour black-eyed peas into a saucepan; add enough water to cover by a few inches. Bring water to a boil, remove saucepan from heat, drain the peas, and add them to the slow cooker.
    -Cook bacon but not completely, drain fat and add to slow cooker with the other ingredients, and cook on low for 8 hours.
    Pamela Sinclair, Author
    A Taste of Wyoming

  12. Gregory Anderson

    This recipe, and comments, are exactly why I love the homesick Texan. Thank ye kindly ma'am. Still a fan.

  13. Anonymous

    Lisa, hi I'm Karen. I recently bought a good ole-fashioned CrockPot and it's a fantastic device. So far I've used it for beans only, lots of beans; they write that if you fill it less than half full cooking times will be shorter than 8 to 10 hours and that's what happened to my 1 cup of pintos, but I will just cook more of them next time. Lol! I guess size matters here (mine holds 3 1/2 quarts).

    Great soup, but I'll go down Laura's route and use collards, too. This might even be the first soup I make in my CrockPot.

    Cheers and Happy New Year everyone 🙂

  14. Greg Goodhart

    We received a new slow cooker for Christmas from our son and daughter-in-law. Old one was a wedding present and still going strong after 30 years. This will be the first recipe in the new one. Thanks to Pamela Sinclair for the slow cooker modifications.

  15. Lisa Fain

    Anon–Theres nothing better than black-eyed peas from your own garden. And I'm so pleased you're enjoying Family Table!

  16. Lisa Fain

    Poetryman–Tasty and fortunate! You can't beat that for New Year's Day!

  17. Lisa Fain

    Pamela–Thank you so much for sharing your slow cooker method! This is wonderful!

  18. Lisa Fain

    Gregory–Thank you and you're welcome! Happy New Year to you!

  19. Lisa Fain

    Karen–Thank you for the advice! It seems that beans are everyone's favorite thing to make in the slow cooker. And Happy New Year to you, too!

  20. Lisa Fain

    Greg–What a fine way to break in your new slow cooker! Enjoy!

  21. Hi, Lisa. Spending New Year's in Houston. I'm going to try this recipe to go along with cowboy ribeyes cooked on the grill. I hope 2015 is a great year for you.
    Mary Waller.

  22. Rebecca

    You know if your looking at trying a slow cooker you might consider one of the pots that do slow cooking, pressure cooking, steaming and other stuff all in the same pot. (at different times I hope) . Heading out to pick up the kale for this soup this morning. Thanks for posting.

  23. ann peck

    Thank you for a really well timed recipe.

    Let me echo the suggestion above of adding a pressure cooker to your kitchen. It makes bean cooking so much easier, and in summer makes a kitchen much, much cooler.

  24. Alison Bryant

    This looks so good! Speaking of chipotles, do you know if they freeze well? Even with the smallest cans I never use them all at once. As for slow cookers, I love our basic Rival 6-qt. Crock Pot. It's a little bigger but, even with just the two of us, the oval shape is worth the extra space. With the round 4-quart there were too many things I wanted to cook that didn't fit. And the Reynolds slow cooker liners have become a must-have for easy clean up. Happy New Year!

    • Alison, I place the extra chipotles out on a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper and freeze. Once fully frozen, I use a spatula to pry them up and place in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Then when I need more for this recipe, as it’s the only one I regularly make that calls for the chipotles, I just grab out one frozen lump. Also, they are super easy to chop up while frozen. /Erin in AK

  25. Suzanne C

    After having invested…and discarded almost every kitchen gadget around. I now have 3 crockpots; a small one for dips (like queso) a large one with a timer and an old one with just 3 setting warm, low and high. I old one is the one I keep gioing back to time and time again especially since the timer one only sets for a maximum of 6 hours and pulled pork and some beans required more time. I love the fact I can put the food in it the night before, put the liner that has a lid in the fridge and then just start it in the morning and it is ready when I get home. Love doing whole chickens in it you get shredded meat and stock all at once!

  26. Anonymous

    Howdy! I'm a homesick Texan living in Montana, and I was delighted to find this recipe in my inbox this morning! Folks up here don't seem to know about black-eyed peas at New Year's (bless their hearts) but I'm too superstitious to start a new year without 'em. This recipe looks like a delicious way to share my tradition with my new friends…without them even knowing I saved their 2015! Thanks Miss Lisa!

  27. Anonymous

    PS: I'm the homesick Texan in Montana who commented a few minutes ago. I apologize, I didn't read the "post a comment" instructions before posting, My name's Amanda, and I'm a big fan. Thank you for giving me a little piece of home up here. And armadillo eggs. Thank you for armadillo eggs. And for knowing that every single nacho should have beans, cheese, and at least one jalapeno slice; a big scoop of toppings in the middle of a ring of chips is NOT nachos! Thanks again!

  28. Lisa Fain

    Mary–Happy New Year to you, too!

  29. Lisa Fain

    Rebecca–That's a good idea. I hadn't considered that. Enjoy the soup!

  30. Lisa Fain

    Ann–I used to be terrified of pressure cookers but they seem to have come a long way. I'll have to look into that!

  31. Lisa Fain

    Alison–Yes, you can freeze chipotle chiles. And thanks for the advice to get an oval cooker and the liners!

  32. Lisa Fain

    Suzanne–It would be great to have an easier way to keep queso warm! And I'm all for getting both chicken and stock made at the same time!

  33. Lisa Fain

    Amanda–What? They don't know about black-eyed peas in Montana? They're sure missing out! Thank you for the kind words and I'm so pleased the blog has helped you feel closer to home. Happy New Year!

  34. Anonymous

    I made this wonderful recipe for dinner tonight with canned lack eyed peas as my store was out of them. So delicious. This ones a keeper. Thanks Lisa!


  35. Rebecca

    Ok… made these up for dinner tonight because we will be on he road tomorrow. Hubby does not care for black-eye peas( to put it mildly for mixed company) and I have to kinda twist his arm once a year to even have a couple to make the luck happy ( me that is) . He just fixed himself a bowl and said they were very good… would be better though with a different bean. So this is a keeper with pinto or white beans. The only thing I changed was using chipotle Tabasco because I was out of the canned ones. Great recipe and thank you.

  36. HZ in DF

    Happy New Year! Made this for our lunch, with some adjustments for what was on hand, and we gobbled it up. I went with all bacon, one jalapeño instead of the chipotle, mustard greens in place of the kale, and white wine vinegar instead of apple cider. I also added a couple of teaspoons of molasses. Served with my mamaw's cornbread and champagne. Thanks for a great recipe to ring in 2015 🙂

  37. K Dawson

    Made this for dinner tonight with fresh peas, chicken broth and Burton jalapeno sausage. It is a winner! Thanks and Happy New Year from H town!

  38. Lisa, this is the first time I've cooked a recipe of yours. I'm a little late in the game (clearly). I just finished my (first) bowl, and it was absolutely delicious. Such a great change from the New Year's norm! Thank you! I look forward to trying many more recipes! Happy New Year!

  39. Terrific recipe! My crockpot can't be used stovetop so had to use skillet for browning, but to deglaze the skillet used water in which I pre-cooked the sausage before browning. It took about 4 1/2 hours on high, and I used the overnight soak on the beans. Served it with chow-chow, avocado slices and cornbread and we had to have seconds! Now, what to do with the leftover chipotles?

  40. Rocky Mountain Woman

    Next year I think I'll start a new tradition with this lovely soup!

  41. Tommy in Toronto

    Hi Lisa, this soup sounds and looks divine. Nothing like beans and pork on a cold winters day. Didn't Emeril do a soup similar on Emeril Live, Portuguese origin from the Fall River area in Massachusetts?

  42. Lisa Fain

    David–Yay! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed it!

  43. Lisa Fain

    Rebecca–You're welcome and I agree with your husband–I also think it would be good with pintos or white beans.

  44. Lisa Fain

    HZ–Molasses? I'll have to try that next time!

  45. Lisa Fain

    K Dawson–Happy New Year to you, too!

  46. Lisa Fain

    Robin–I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Happy cooking!

  47. Lisa Fain

    Noowl–Thanks for the slow cooker tips. And I love the idea of serving this with chow chow!

  48. Lisa Fain

    Rocky Mountain Woman–Yes you should!

  49. Lisa Fain

    Tommy–Thank you! As for Emeril, I don't have a TV so I have no idea about that particular show but it wouldn't surprise me as sausage, white beans, and kale are a popular combination in Portugal.

  50. Lisa! You've done it again! Today, I think I am finally over the flu and getting my appetite back. The nasty hospital food put me on a hunger strike and I lost 14 pounds. I saw this and know what I'll be making tomorrow!

    I gifted 8 of your cookbooks to other Homesick Texans and one to my brother in Austin!

    Here's hoping 2015 will be great!

  51. Anonymous

    We just made this today – and it has redefined how we think about getting lucky with black-eyed peas. The mix of flavors is just right, and will definitely be added as a favorite in our household.

  52. If you haven's bought your slow cooker yet, America's Test Kitchen recommends the KitchenAid six quart slow cooker with a glass lid.

  53. Thank you for this recipe. It has become our go-to meal for New Year’s Day. I have adapted it to make in my Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) so that’s how I will make it today, but I have made it using the stove and it is delicious either way. From a fellow Texan, thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes. Donna

    • Lisa Fain

      Donna–This is definitely a favorite! And I’m planning on getting an Instant Pot soon, and I look forward to playing around with this recipe and others with it. Happy New Year!

  54. Made this for New Year’s Day using dried purple hull and Sea Island red peas from my garden. Delicious! My two boys, who normally hate field peas (if I hadn’t given birth to them I’d swear they weren’t Georgia boys!), both had seconds and said it was definitely a keeper. Thank you for the great recipe.

    • Lisa Fain

      Lisa–It’s good to hear that your two Georgia boys have discovered the glories of field peas! Glad that y’all enjoyed it.

  55. Eileen

    I veganized this for New Year’s Day and it was delicious!! I omitted the bacon and sausage and used a few splashes of Liquid Smoke to make up for the bacon’s smoky flavor. I might try using a plant-based sausage next time but my omnivore boyfriend and I loved the flavor and heartiness of this dish without any meat component at all. I’ll definitely not be waiting till next New Year’s Day to make this again – thanks!!

    • Lisa Fain

      Eileen–These are wonderful tips! It’s good to know it’s just as delicious as a vegetarian dish.

  56. Chris B

    5 stars

    I can’t find how many people this recipe serves and I have to cook these for New Year’s eve. Can you tell me how many people this serves? I have to cook for 15 and I can convert/add/subtract what you tell me to make it work.

    • Lisa Fain

      Chris–Thanks for your comment. I’ve now updated the recipe to reflect servings. In any case, this will serve 8 so I’d just double it for your gathering. Enjoy the soup!

  57. Brian Lew

    5 stars
    HI Lisa,
    Not sure if you got my other comment. I am also another homesick Texan. If you are in Oregon again, hit me up I’m in the Portland area.

    My son is not a fan of spicy. How spicy is this with the Chipotle? Can I omit or maybe only use 1?


    • Lisa Fain

      Hi Brian–It’s fine with one chipotle or even with none! I’ll definitely holler if I’m in PDX!

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