I hope your holiday break, like mine, was relaxing, joyous, sleep-filled and a little magical. I believe all these things are requisite for turning over the New Year. And if you do, do resolutions, I hope it leads to your best year yet.
I didn’t really set any resolutions for this new year, but we kept with the tradition of eating black-eyed peas, then went for a long walk along the seawall. This year we had black-eyed peas, sweet potato and kale soup for dinner.
I found the recipe while cleaning out my little bedside drawer; it had been in there for at least half a decade. I can’t be sure now, but I think this soup from a few years back was adapted from this recipe.
This thing is, I lost the recipe just as soon as I found it, I must have thrown out the piece of paper it was printed on with the rest of the trash. Luckily, my wonderful sister and soup connoisseur, whose new year’s resolution, I think, is to eat lots of soup this winter, came to the rescue.
I wanted to make waffles for the morning before our walk, but the batter wouldn’t cooperate – it ruined my waffle maker – so I turned it into a cake instead. We had thick slices of the cake with mugs of hot milky Kashmiri chai.
The walk after breakfast was glorious; we’ve had a winter of beautiful snow blanketing our typically wet city. It’s unusual and splendid, and once you’re bundled up and warm, it’s such a charming walk.
The stunning view of the sparkling snowy mountains, the seawall, the beach, the park and treetops look spectacular covered in snow and washed in sunlight. We stayed out for the most part of the day with our cameras, snapping away.
Hearty and warming, this is a simple soup with nourishing ingredients. It’s the perfect remedy for chilly winter nights; it’s thick, chunky and wholesome. Starting with a bright base of spices – curry powder, cumin, and coriander, it comes together quickly. Onions, garlic, leeks and celery are sautéed in the spices, add tomatoes, broth and sweet potatoes and simmer, the kale and black beans finishes it off for a thick delicious fragrant soup. There’s also a little bit of dried fenugreek leaves to boost the flavours.
I recommend you cook your own beans for this soup – it’s quite simple. Cover a pot of dried beans with enough water to keep beans completely submerged, then cook for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Use the water from the cooked beans in the soup to replace vegetable broth.
Coming in from the cold to this soup is a delightful experience; we ladled them into bowls, warm and fragrant and passed around. As we ate, we reflected on the past year and hopes for this shiny new year.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium-sized leek, trimmed and sliced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 28oz can whole tomatoes (about 3 cups), pour into a bowl and crush with your hands or a masher
- 6 – 7 cups broth, from cooked beans (if you cooked your own beans), vegetable broth (preferably no sodium) or water, plus more if you prefer a thinner soup
- 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
- 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas (from about 1 cup dried beans or 2 16-oz canned)
- 1 bunch of kale, chopped (discard tough stems)
- Salt to taste (adjust for salt in beans and/or broth, if applicable)
- 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat
- When oil is hot, stir in curry powder, cumin and coriander and cook for 20 – 30 seconds, until spices start to get fragrant
- Add onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until onions start to soften
- Add leeks and celery, and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender
- Stir in pepper flakes and tomatoes and let it cook for a minute or so
- Add broth, stir and increase heat slightly, then add sweet potato
- Bring to a boil, cover pot and cook for 8 – 10 minutes or until sweet potato is just tender
- Take cover off pot and lower heat, add black eyed peas, kale, salt and fenugreek, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally until sweet potato is cooked through
- Taste, and adjust with more salt and/or crushed pepper flakes as needed