Greetings from Knoxville, Tennessee!
I’d love to tell you that I’m soaking up this southern city and doing all kinds of fun touristy things, but I’m not. Brad is here on business and Rascal and I have accompanied him after a weekend of camping in the Pisgah Forest with friends.
I’ve been working like, well…like it’s my job. Because it is. And I’m getting a lot done.
I’ll be back later with at least one fun Knoxville post, but for now, may I share a delicious easy recipe with you?
Of course I can!
This was a recipe made out of necessity. After all, necessity is the mother of invention. And this invention is a warm and comforting bowl of hearty yumminess.
But it was also a labor of love.
Scratch that. It was a labor of avoiding wastefulness.
For the past few weeks I’ve been getting bags of unshelled black eyed peas in my CSA and I finally rolled up sleeves one day and shelled them.
It took FOREVER!
I’ve shelled beans before, but it was back when I was a little girl and had no real concept of precious time slipping through my fingertips. Now, time is money for me and I would gladly pay for the pre-shelled variety in the bulk bin section of my grocer.
Heck, I would pay anyone out there to personally shell my beans for me. Any takers?
So, if you make this recipe, and you really should, I recommend buying pre-shelled black eyed peas or sitting down with a good movie while you shell them yourself.
Unless you’d like to shell mine next time and we can go halfsies. Deal?
4 cups + 6 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 fennel bulb and the stalk, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup fennel herb, chopped finely
Cook black eyed peas and 4 cups of water in a crockpot on low for at least 8 hours. Once cooked, drain water from beans and add 6 cups of clean water and the bouillon cub.
Warn olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add fennel bulb and stalk, carrots, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are soft, then add to the crockpot of beans. Stir in spices and fennel herb. Allow to cook on low for another 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Puree in a blender in batches or with an immersion blender until smooth.
Note: This recipe takes a long time, but is very hands off because the crockpot does all the work. Many people complain to me about not being able to get dried beans soft enough when they cook them, but the crockpot is the secret to perfect made-from-scratch beans every. single. time.
Like all good things in life, I topped this soup with a generous dollop of Greek yogurt and garnished with a sprig of fennel, just for color.
Now, let’s talk about this soups flavor. Its vegan without the yogurt, but it tastes meaty. The secret is the fennel.
Fennel is typically used to flavor sausage so our brain recognizes the taste as sausage. It’s a great trick for the carnivore you love who can’t think of having a meal without meat.
This soup gets thicker and tastier with each passing day, but if you want to thin it out (which I don’t), keep some veggie broth on hand to whisk in before serving. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a more deeply complex concoction of rich flavorful goodness with the consistency of slightly thinned-out refried beans.