All this talk of soups and chowders is firing me up! Here is one of my favorites for the winter months: Ingredients: 4 lbs black-eyed peas 1 medium-sized picnic ham w/bone (6-8lbs) chunked 4 qt chicken stock 3 celery stalks chopped 3 carrots chopped 1 large onion chopped 2 cans whole plum tomatoes 28oz (crush by hand) 6-8 cloves of garlic crushed or finely chopped 2 bay leaves Fresh ground pepper Cumin Cayenne pepper Oregano Crystal hot sauce Worchester sauce Note: If you are not a fan of black-eyed peas, substitute your favorite bean instead... Assembly: Note: Quantity for the spices and hot sauce are to taste. I never use an exact amount, just what feels good at the time. Wash/rinse black-eyed peas thoroughly, pour them into a large pot (at least a 12 qt size or bigger). Add all the rest of the ingredients to the pot, stir, cover and bring to a boil. Remove the lid, reduce heat and let it simmer for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Serving suggestions: Let the soup cool off and sit overnight in the refrigerator. Scoop into quart-sized containers; breaking up the chunks of ham as you go. Heat up enough for dinner and freeze the rest. It keeps very well in the freezer! Serve with fresh cornbread and a nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon.