This is the perfect quick, delicious, and filling Potlikker Soup. This easy soup is filled with peas, smoky ham, and southern collard greens!
Now, I’ll admit that this isn’t TRUE potlikker soup because it doesn’t use the leftover broth from cooking greens. BUT, it has the same great taste as that flavorful liquid, is ready in half the time, and keeps the greens in it rather than just having the leftover broth.
It’s a hearty and filling soup and one that you can customize with your own favorite beans, vegetables, and greens. I like to whip this up on New Year’s Day using a pot of greens, such as my personal favorite – collards. Then I throw in black-eyed peas and tomatoes. You could use nearly any green and any combination of beans or peas that you like. Enjoy!
What is a potlikker?
If you’re a true Southerner, then you probably already know exactly what potlikker is. For those that may not… It’s the delicious, vitamin-rich broth that’s left over when cooking greens – be they collards, turnip greens, kale, etc.
It is crazy delicious, but also full of vitamins and minerals being that most of them cook out of the greens. In fact, many old-school doctors used to suggest drinking pot likker soup for a variety of ailments but especially anemia being that the broth is rich in iron. It’s also chock-full of vitamins K and C, though they vary depending on which green it is that you’re cooking. Regardless, it’s good stuff and it’s good for you.
And, I’m going to go ahead and stop you before you try to tell me that it’s “pot liquor” instead of “potlikker.” See this letter to the editor, from then Lt. Governor of Georgia Zell Miller, printed in the New York Times in 1982 for reference.
Vegetable Oil – You only need a tablespoon for this recipe. If you don’t have vegetable oil around, you could also use canola oil or olive oil in its place.
Ham – This recipe calls for one pound of chopped ham. This can be ham steaks straight out of the refrigerated case at the grocery store (that’s what I used) or it can be leftover pieces from a large ham. You could even use ham hocks or jowl if you wanted to. It’s completely up to you. You’ll just want to be sure it’s smoked ham so that it gives the soup that smokey flavor.
Onion – Nothing fancy here! Just grab a large yellow or white onion. Yellow onion has a bit of a sweeter taste, while the white onion has a bit more of a bite to it. It’s totally up to you and your taste preferences!
Garlic – I really recommend freshly minced garlic. You just can’t achieve the same rich and fresh flavor with a powder or pre-minced garlic.
Chicken Broth – You will need 8 cups for this recipe, so make sure you have plenty on hand. If you can’t find chicken broth you could also use beef broth in its place. But, of course, the flavor will be different.
Chopped Collard Greens – You can really pick any green of your choice. I just prefer collard greens for the flavor. I also like to grab the pre-chopped, frozen bag to save myself time and remove the risk of my collards going bad before it’s time to cook. You simply throw these in the pot frozen, and they really do thaw and cook to tender perfection.
Black-Eyed Peas – Go ahead and grab the canned black-eyed peas and save yourself the time of making black-eyed peas on your own. It’s so much quicker that way and doesn’t make that big of a difference in the flavor. However, if you absolutely insist on making your own black-eyed peas, I recommend following my Southern Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas recipe. They are delicious if I do say so myself! Either way you make them or buy them, make sure you drain them before you put them in the pot on the stove.
Tomatoes – Here is another area in this recipe where you can save yourself some time and sweat. Go ahead and get the canned petite diced tomatoes. You’ll thank me!
Quick and Easy Potlikker Soup
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound smoked ham, chopped (about 3 cups chopped)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen chopped collard greens (or other green of your choice)
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
- salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ham and onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, cook about a minute more. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the frozen greens. Bring back up to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the rinsed peas and drained tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
* If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. The values do not include optional ingredients or when ingredients are added to taste. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.