Black-Eyed Pea Soup With Ham Hocks


Start the New Year off right with soul satisfying black-eyed pea soup.

Black-eyed pea soup with ham hocks in white pot with smaller bowl of soup

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis

Active Time:
30 mins
Slow Cook Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 30 mins

Perfect for New Year’s Day or any time you need a comforting dish, this Black-Eyed Pea Soup is like a hug in a bowl. Made using dried black-eyed peas, smoky ham hocks, and hearty collard greens, this satisfying soup comes together effortlessly with the help of your slow cooker.

If you’re accustomed to using frozen or even canned black-eyed peas for cooking, don’t let this recipe’s dried peas scare you. Dried black-eyed peas actually have a much better texture than frozen peas—they get nice and creamy in the slow cooker, but they still have just the slightest hint of snap.

Look for ham hocks in the meat department of your local grocery store; if you can’t find them, you can substitute smoked turkey wings. If those aren’t available, saute four slices of bacon in the beginning of Step 1, then remove them before cooking the onion. Crumble the bacon, and stir it back into the soup just before serving.


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (from 1 large onion)

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.)

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin

  • 2 lb. smoked ham hocks

  • 1 lb. dried black-eyed peas

  • 10 cups lower-sodium chicken broth

  • 3 cups chopped stemmed collard greens (from 1 [8-oz.] bunch)

  • 3/4 cup chopped celery (from 3 small celery stalks)

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 1 (8 1/2-oz.) pkg. precooked microwavable white rice

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until translucent, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cumin; cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in ham hocks, black-eyed peas, chicken broth, collard greens, celery, and bay leaves. Cover and cook until ham hocks and peas are very tender, about 4 hours on HIGH or 7 to 8 hours on LOW.

  2. Remove and discard bay leaves from soup. Use tongs to transfer ham hocks to a cutting board. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bones and skin; shred meat into bite-size pieces. Return shredded ham hocks to mixture in slow cooker, and stir to combine. Add rice; stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Mix in thyme, black pepper, salt, and cayenne. Serve hot.

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