Austin Leslie's Blackeyed Pea and Okra Soup
PREP TIME: 1 1/2 Hours
SERVES: 8 to 10

In the early days, this soup was referred to around the plantations as "good luck" soup. The name originated from the fact that many think that eating blackeyed peas on New Year's Day will give you good luck throughout the year. I often wonder if gumbo didn't originally influence the creation of this soup.


  • 1 lb dried blackeyed peas
  • 1 (10-oz) package cut okra
  • 1 lb cubed ham
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup garlic, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped and seeded
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • Louisiana Gold Pepper Sauce to taste

In a heavy-bottom dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Saute 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add ham, bay leaf and thyme and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and add blackeyed peas. Bring to a rolling boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 1 hour. While stirring, mash peas on side of pot with a cooking spoon. This will help thicken the finished soup. Add okra and tomatoes and season to taste using salt, pepper and Louisiana Gold. Add green onions and parsley, blend well into the soup and allow to cook 20 to 30 minutes longer or until peas are tender and soup is creamy. I recommend serving cornbread muffins with this soup.

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