Looking to change your luck in the new year but you don’t know where to turn? Well, you have turned to the right place ’cause we have an ol’ Southern classic dish – Cowboy Collard Green Soup. It’s full of ham, black-eyed peas and what tops it off – a crispy fried bacon cornbread. This will make the new year the best one!
Y’all have heard it – you gotta eat some black-eyed peas for good luck, and then something green for wealth. So, let’s combine this all together and make it a one-stop shop. This dish is good, hearty and will warm you up on the coldest day.
Start with Frying Bacon
To start, get 6 pieces of bacon. I like to use a thick-cut. Put it in that cast iron skillet and fry it up until it’s good and crispy ‘cause we’re gonna use it later in that cornbread. Be sure to save all the bacon grease. You’re going to want about 1/2 cup or so. If you don’t think that the bacon made that much when it was frying, add a little good lard or cooking oil to it.
Starting with the Soup
Add 1 box of chicken broth plus 1 more cup to a large pot. I’ve taken 4 cleaned carrots and sliced them thinly because that way they’ll cook through a little quicker. Then add 2 minced garlic cloves. Finally, I’m adding 3 chopped Hatch green chilies. I used fresh because they add great flavor, but you can also buy the canned whole green chilies and chop them up.
Then, pour in 2 cans of black-eyed peas, but don’t drain them. If you have fresh peas I sure recommend those. Let all those ingredients come to a boil and meanwhile we’re going to get that ham steak ready.
Prepare the Ham Steak
Get a packaged ham steak (about 1 – 1.5 lbs) Get the cast iron skillet hot again that you fried the bacon in. leave in any left over drippings from the bacon for flavor. You just want to brown it on both sides to give it flavor since it’s already a cooked ham.
After you’ve browned it up, I like to cut around and separate the muscles to make it more tender. Then you can chop it up into good bite-sized pieces and add them to the pot.
At this point I like to salt and pepper the soup, to taste. Remember, ham is naturally salty so be sure not to add too much salt.
Put the lid on and reduce the heat to a simmer.
It’s Collard Green Time
While that is sitting there simmering, let’s go ahead and fire this cast iron skillet back up. Remember that bacon grease that we had? Reserve 2 tablespoons for the cornbread later, but go ahead and add the rest to the skillet.
Stir in a diced yellow onion and cook it until it gets good and tender.
While that’s cooking along, we need to prepare the collard greens. You need to remove the large stems from the leaves and discard the stems. Then I like to sort of roll up the large leaves and chop them up. Try to keep them in even-sized pieces.
Stir in the greens with the onions a little bit at a time, stirring as you add them. You want to cook them a few minutes until the greens are coated well in that bacon grease and have cooked down just a bit. Stir in 2 teaspoons of vinegar to finish and then add all the ingredients to the pot.
You can’t have a good ham and black-eyed pea soup without cornbread! But we’re changing it up a bit and adding bacon and frying it. This will fry up crispy and hold up great in a soup.
The trick to this cornbread is not to mix it up like a traditional cornbread batter, which is quite moist. This batter will be thicker and nearly stick to the spoon. We want it to bind together pretty well so it will spoon easily into a skillet to fry.
We’re also going to stir in that 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and crumble up those 6 pieces of bacon that you’ve been waiting to use. That will give this a good rich flavor.
Frying Bacon Cornbread
Instead of frying in a typical oil like canola- I’m using real lard today which will enhance that great bacon flavor. However, if you can’t find real lard any fry oil will do. Take a good spoonful of cornbread and just drop it right in skillet (you can make them any size you like, but I like mine a larger size). You just want to fry until both sides get a good golden brown, are crispy and the middle sets up. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack.
Enjoy the New Year’s Collard Green Soup and Fried Bacon Cornbread!
The best part is to take the cornbread and dip it down in the soup. The rich flavors of that broth is so good and gives a classic comfort food flavor. This soup is sure a pretty dish too, because it has great colors with the greens, ham, black-eyed peas, onion, and carrots.
We sure wish y’all a Happy New Year and hope it’s full of good food and laughter!
New Year's Collard Green and Black-Eyed Pea Soup - Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 32 ounce carton plus 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 carrots thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 green chilies chopped
- 2 cans black eyed peas 15.8 ounce, undrained
- 1 1 - 1.5 lb. ham steak
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 bunch collard greens de-stemmed and chopped
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- In large cast iron skillet fry the bacon until done. Drain the grease in a cup and reserve for later. Set the bacon on paper towel to cool. The bacon will be used later in the Fried Cornbread recipe (below).
- In a large stockpot add the chicken broth, carrots, garlic, green chilies and black eyed peas. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, return to the cast iron skillet and brown the ham over medium heat, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the ham and place on a cutting board and chop into bite-sized pieces. Stir into the chicken broth mixture.
- Pour the reserved bacon grease back into the skillet (all but 2 tablespoons, to be used later in the Fried Cornbread). Add the onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally about 3 - 5 minutes. Stir in the collard greens a little bit at a time. Cook down for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vinegar and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Scrape the contents of the skillet into the stockpot and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Turn to low heat and simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
Fried Bacon Cornbread - Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 2 cups yellow corn meal
- ½ cup flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease from recipe above
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 2 large eggs unbeaten
- 6 slices bacon chopped (from recipe above)
- 1 ½ cups lard or fry oil
- In a bowl add the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in the bacon grease, milk, eggs and bacon. Stir until smooth. If needed, add more cornmeal to create a batter that is thick and binds together.
- In a large cast iron skillet, melt the lard over medium-heat. Add large dollops of the cornbread mixture to the skillet and fry on both sides until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side.
- Let cool slightly on paper towel or rack. Top with butter and serve with the Cowboy Collard Greens Soup.