Thursday, December 29, 2011

Good Luck Soup

Little doubt that many would call me a soup freak. And honestly, there’s not a whole lot to say in denying that—yeah, I like soup and enjoy making soups, especially when a new soup pot sits crying out for a first run on the stovetop. So, the weighty John Folse Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine book came off the shelf Wednesday morning, the idea to search out a tantalizing soup recipe just right for the big twelve-quart Paula Dean pot found in my Christmas stocking. There are a lot of pages and soups to look through in that cookbook, but in the end it came down to a fairly basic and easy-to-prepare soup. Someone else might have opted for another choice, but the okra and black-eyed peas won me over.

In the plantation days, black-eyed pea and okra soup was referred to as “good luck” soup. The name originated from the belief that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring good luck throughout the year. I sort of jumped the gun there, but maybe it will still work. If not, then let’s hope the last two days of this year will bring me a winning lottery ticket.



1 pound dried black-eyed pea

1 (10 ounce) package of okra (I used about 12 ounces of fresh okra.)

1 pound cubed ham

¼ cup butter

2 cups diced onions

1 cup diced celery

½ cup diced red bell pepper

¼ cup minced garlic

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of fresh thyme

2½ quarts chicken stock

1 can of diced tomatoes

¼ cup sliced green onions

¼ cup chopped parsley

salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Louisiana hot sauce to taste


In a heavy bottomed Dutch oven (a big soup pot) melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Stir in ham, bay leaf and thyme and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and black-eyed peas, bring to a rolling boil then reduce to simmer. Cover and cook approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally. When peas are soft mash them on side of pot with a cooking spoon to help thicken finished soup. Stir in okra, tomatoes, green onions and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Allow to cook 20-30 minutes longer or until soup is creamy. Serve with cornbread muffins or regular cornbread.

Easy to prepare, low in cost, feeds a crowd and everyone will call it delicious.


  1. Well, if you filled the 12-quart Christmas gift pot with "Good Luck Soup" then you should have plenty left for a New Year's Day tasting. Count me as one who loves soups also--although this holiday season gumbo stood in for soup making. Had the traditional seafood gumbo with the family on Christmas Eve and yesterday the leftover turkey was combined with sausage for another gumbo. Gumbo, like soup, is an anytime meal for me.

  2. This soup sounds delicious and the picture tells the tale that it is. Since I, too, have that cookbook I will make that soup very soon. Great post.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America