Me: “Hey kids! Let’s have some beans and kale for the new year! It’s good luck!”
Yeah, that goes over about as well as a wet rock. So…. we renamed it. And didn’t talk about what was in it until we were eating it. (A little shredded cheese goes a long way, too-) The leftovers were copious and delicious!
- 1 ham bone, with meat left if you are lucky
- about 1 lb ham left over from said ham bone, no longer attached and preferably cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 medium onions, diced
- a few stalks of celery (to your taste- I can’t stand the stuff), diced
- 1/2 lb of bacon, diced
- olive oil, butter, or left over bacon fat from a DIFFERENT chunk of bacon
- 1 bag (1 lb?) of black eyed peas
- 1 big bunch of kale, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
- cajun seasoning, or old world seasoning – any seasoning blend you are fond of, really-
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 quart of chicken broth (I like Pacific)
- 8 cups water
- about 1/2 bag (1/2 lb?) of rice
- salt, pepper, garlic granules, paprika- once again, what you like
- hot sauce- franks if you like more vinegar than heat, tabasco if you like more heat than vinegar
- shredded cheese (if the kids still won’t eat the stuff)
- Soak the beans in a big bowl of water the night before. Make sure you remove all rocks and other inedibles first.
- Throw the bacon in the bottom of a large stock pot and render until it smells delicious and the bacon looks like it’s cooked. barely.
- Add the diced onion and celery, sprinkle with a little salt, and saute until veggies are fragrant and begin to brown on the edges.
- Sprinkle on seasoning and stir- the amount is wholly up to you.
- Add ham bone, bay leaves, beans, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 2-ish hours. The beans should be soft but not mushy. All of this can be done well in advance of serving, if you have a cold place to stash the mix.
- Once beans are cooked, Turn off the heat and remove the ham bone and bay leaves. Toss in cut up ham (and anything you can salvage from the bone) and the kale, and stir all that goodness in. Move to cold storage if not serving within the next 60 minutes.
About an hour before serving, or immediately if you only have 1 hour until dinner:
- Bring mix back to a boil. You should have a dish that resembles soup more than cooked beans- you want about 3-4 cups of liquid in there- add water or broth if needed.
- Stir in the rice (it should be approximately 1.5-2 cups) and simmer until rice is cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
Scoop into bowls and serve. Add hot sauce for those who want it, cheese for those who won’t eat it any other way, and beseech those who won’t touch anything that night but oranges and bologna.
Happy New Years!