1 pound dried black-eyed peas, (soaked overnight in water) rinsed and drained
1/2 C olive oil
1 pound ham steak, trimmed and diced into pieces
6 stalks celery, diced
6-7 carrots, peeled and diced
2 small yellow onions, diced
8 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1 T plus 1 t dried thyme
5-6 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
1 t red pepper flakes
10 C chicken stock
2 C cooked white rice
Fresh parsley, finely chopped for garnish
In a large preheated soup pot, add 1/4 C of the olive oil. Once it is shimmering, add ham pieces and cook until nicely browned. Remove ham to a paper-towel lined plate. Pour off any excess oil.
Add remaining 1/4 C of olive oil to the soup pot. Add celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Add a spritz of salt and cracked black pepper. Sauté until vegetables take on some color. Lower heat if things are browning too fast. You want a deep dark color on the bottom of the pan. Once the vegetables release their moisture, continue cooking until the liquid evaporates.
Add cider vinegar to the vegetables and cook until it has almost completely evaporated. Add thyme, bay leaves, cloves, red pepper flakes and peas. Add stock, ham pieces and mix well. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender.
Just prior to service, portion a 1/4 C of cooked rice into each bowl and ladle hot soup over the top. Garnish with fresh parsley. There should be no need for additional salt as the ham is salty enough for the whole pot.
I always keep the rice and soup separate.
And, this will taste better after an overnight rest.