Recipe: Black Eyed Pea Stew

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Rancho Gordo Black Eyed Pea Stew

This is the recipe that switched me from passive Black Eyed Pea consumer to a true advocate. It’s very simple, traditional and delicious. New Years Day (or any day) will be a happy one with this going on in the kitchen.

  • 1 pound Rancho Gordo Black Eyed Peas, cleaned and rinsed
  • ¼ pound (4 or 5 pieces) bacon, chopped into rough squares
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small to medium white onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup whole canned tomatoes with some juice, roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  1. Soak the Black Eyed Peas for 2 hours, covered by about 2 inches of water.
  2. In a soup pot, gently cook the bacon on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s just done, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon pieces and let them rest on a paper towel.
  3. In the remaining bacon fat, saute the celery, onion, carrot and garlic on medium heat until soft, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When the vegetables are soft, add the Black Eyed Peas and their soaking water. Add enough water to cover the peas by about an inch. Stir, add the bay leaf and then raise the heat to high and bring the contents to a rapid boil. Keep boiling, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon salt and adjust the water so that the peas are again covered by about an inch. Reduce to a gentle simmer until the peas are soft, about 35 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste. Stir and then gently heat through, about 15 minutes on medium heat. Add pepper to taste and the reserved bacon pieces. Adjust seasonings and serve.