Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea, Wild Rice, and Kale Stew (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea, Wild Rice, and Kale Stew // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This Black Eyed Pea stew provides all the good luck that you’ll need for the new year.  Well, don’t quote me on that. You may need some other luck besides this stew.  So cross your toes and buy a rabbit foot.

Southern tradition is to eat black eyed peas for luck and greens for wealth.  This Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea, Wild Rice, and Kale Stew has both, plus it is cooked in a slow cooker so you’ll free up plenty of time to do other things, like catch up on some light readings or past episodes of New Girl or really nothing at all.

In fact, I barely put pants on today. *yaaawn* Best. day. ever.

I feel extremely lucky to be able to laze around with my favorite person and my favorite dog while this delicious stew cooked away in the background. It is the perfect bowl of lucky and hearty goodness on a super sleepy and chilly day.

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea, Wild Rice, and Kale Stew // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Cheers to everyone. I hope 2015 brings warmth and love to everyone! I’m truly lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life. Now I’ve gotta go serve me up a big bowl of stew!

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea, Wild Rice, and Kale Stew (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black eyed peas
  • 1 large ham hock
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 cup dried wild rice mix
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups of chopped kale leaves, stems removed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Soak dried black eyed peas overnight by placing them in a large stockpot and filling with 6 to 8 cups of water.  Pick out any bad black eyed peas that look shriveled and float up to the top. After soaking overnight, drain and rinse the black eyed peas.
  2. Add soaked black eyed peas and remaining ingredients (except kale) to large slow cooker (crockpot). Stir to combine. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and the ham hock from slow cooker. Carefully use two forks to shred off the cooked ham from the bone. Return shredded ham and kale to slow cooker.  Stir to combine and allow the kale to wilt, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Happy New Year and Lucky Hoppin John

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Black eyed peas are a traditional southern dish that are eaten for good luck for the new year. Every year since we have moved to KC, I have made a huge cauldron of Hoppin John: a spicy, smoky black eyed pea stew-ish thing. Stew-ish things are so creamy and comforting. And while I lounge all day in stretchy pants, this black eyed pea stew just simmers away and brings a soul-warming smell to every corner of my home. You could easily throw everything into a crockpot as well and let it cook, cook, cook away while you get to be as lazy as you want.

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As this lucky black eyed pea stew simmers away, it gives me time to reflect at how lucky I am. Maybe it’s all the black eyed peas that I have consumed over the years, or maybe I have just been blessed to be surrounded by amazing people.

It is very rare to find true friendships in life, much less multiple times.  I have been so blessed to have met a several strong and amazing women in my life. Women that I look up to and that give me the strength to move on during incredibly hard times in life. Women that I consider my sisters. Days, weeks, months may go by that we don’t speak, but as soon as we do, it’s as if no time has passed at all. These are friends and moments that make life amazing. We have share hugs and tears that cure heart aches, provide hope for the future, and heal wounds. I cherish these times.

I am the lucky one to be a part of your life. I love you.

Cheers to hope and love and what may come in 2014.

Hoppin John

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, small diced
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, small diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, small diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound black-eyed peas (if dried you will need to soak overnight in 6 to 8 cups of water; if fresh, add them straight to the pot)
  • 1 smoked ham hock or ham bone
  • 1 cup of leftover ham (if you were lucky to wrangle some from your family from Christmas ham or other dinner)
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon cajun or blackened seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large Dutch oven or kettle, heat oil and add the ham hock and sear on all sides. Ad the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and cook for 4 minutes. Add the soaked black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaf, and thyme.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for 40 minutes to an hour. If you don’t soak the beans overnight, you can add unsoaked beans to the pot but will need to cook for 2 to 3 hours.  Peas will be creamy and tender. If liquid evaporates, add more water or stock.
  3. Remove the ham hock bone and cut off the meat. I usually add leftover ham from the holidays that I freeze.
  4. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  5. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash some of the peas against the side of the pot until the stewed peas have some body (slightly thick). Add the cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. I like to top this with tabasco and green onions. Serve over brown rice or cauliflower rice