Matt's latest specialty is black-eyed pea soup. He starts with a meaty ham hock, chops a large onion, a few stalks of celery and carrots, 3 or 4 crushed garlic cloves, a teaspoon of chili powder and salt, and tosses the lot into a big pot with a pound of rinsed black eyed peas. Or navy beans. Or whatever beans you have on hand. He covers the mess with water and simmers for about 3 hours. Then he pulls the ham off the bone into bite sized bits, tosses it back into the soup, and is ready to enjoy. [Alternatively, skip the ham hock, buy a 1 lb picnic ham, cut it into cubes, and add them to the pot--saves the work of picking the bones.]
And no discussion of southern soups would be complete without a mention of Gumbo. Strictly speaking, Cajun is different from southern, but geographically it's nearby, and since Chef Bill Beck of Beck's Cajun Cafe is a rising star on the Philly Food Scene he warrants some airtime.
|Chef Bill Beck with a vat of gumbo.|
And finally, we're dying to try this Cope's Corn and Shrimp Chowder, which appeared in the late, lamented Gourmet Magazine's "What is Southern?" issue from January 2008--the only one I saved from my vast subscription. The chowder is definitely on our agenda soon. We'll be sure to report the results.