The creamy texture of black-eyed peas works particularly well in warming, spicy soups. This one is filling enough to make a hearty main course. A scattering of grated cheese melting into the soup and an accompaniment of heated tortillas provide the finishing touches.
1 cup (180 g) dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in cold water
1 tbsp canola oil
1 large fresh green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 green capsicums, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can chopped tomatoes (about 400 g)
1 tsp sun-dried tomato paste
600–750 ml vegetable stock, preferably homemade
1 bay leaf
1 cup (140 g) frozen corn kernels
¼ cup (15 g) chopped fresh coriander leaves
salt and pepper
12 medium flour tortillas
⅓ cup (40 g) coarsely grated mature tasty cheese
sprigs of fresh coriander (optional)
thinly sliced fresh green chilli (optional)
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Drain and rinse the peas, then place them in a large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 2 hours or until tender. Drain well.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the chilli and green capsicums and cook gently for 5 minutes or until almost soft, stirring frequently. Stir in the ground cumin and cook for a few seconds longer.
Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, 600 ml of the stock, the bay leaf and three-quarters of the peas. Bring slowly to the boil, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
Purée the soup, either in batches in a blender or food processor, or using a hand-held blender directly in the pan. Stir in the remaining peas, plus the corn and chopped coriander. Add enough of the remaining stock to thin the soup to the desired consistency. Season to taste, then heat through gently until piping hot.
Meanwhile, heat the tortillas in the oven or microwave, according to the packet instructions.
Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the cheese. Garnish with coriander sprigs and green chilli, if you like. Serve with the tortillas.
Some more ideas…
Roasted vegetable and kidney bean soup Peel, deseed and cube ½ butternut pumpkin (about 350 g). Put on a baking tray with 1 halved onion, 1 halved parsnip and 1 thickly sliced leek. Drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil, then add 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Roast in a preheated 200ºC oven for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. Discard the thyme, then tip the vegetables into a saucepan. Mix in 1 can red kidney beans (about 400 g), drained and rinsed, and 1 litre vegetable stock, preferably homemade. Purée, then stir in a second can of kidney beans and season. Heat thoroughly, then ladle into bowls and swirl 1 tsp pesto in each. * There is a lot of stock in this recipe so if you're not using a homemade stock, make sure to use a salt-reduced brand or dilute the stock with water.
Pulses are an excellent source of dietary fibre. Rinse canned pulses well to help to remove the sugars that can cause unwanted side-effects, such as wind and bloating. * The mature tasty cheese adds a rich flavour, so you don't need to use much of it.