Sunday, March 5, 2017

Cajun black-eyed peas and greens stew (Instant Pot and stovetop instructions)

I was a bad Southerner--I never liked black-eyed peas growing up. But when I found myself with a lot of leftover kale in my fridge last week at the same time I ran across this recipe on one of my favorite food sites, Serious Eats, I decided to cook them for the first time. Because I always have to tweak things, I added my own spin using my Cajun intuition. Honestly, I was not expecting that much from this recipe--it was just a way to use up some ingredients on the cheap. But this turned out amazing! Like my new favorite Cajun-ish dish AMAZING! For me, what makes this so delicious is cooking the beans until they are creamy, then getting a fresh pop from the greens and vinegar. This dish really is greater than the sum of its parts, and such a healthy staple to have on hand in the freezer. Eat it on New Years Day and Southern tradition says that it will bring you money and luck!

Cajun Black-Eyed Peas and Greens Stew
4 ounces bacon (about 4 or 5 strips), cut into small pieces
12 ounces andouille sausage, cut into bite-sized slices
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced (optional)
Image result for tony chachere's1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 T minced garlic
2 t Tony Chachere's seasoning (This is the Cajun seasoning salt blend that almost everyone in Louisiana uses. You can find it at grocery stores nationwide, and you will not regret your $3 purchase! You'll use it on everything.)
1 t Worcestershire sauce
15 oz can tomatoes with green chilies
1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
1 quart chicken stock, plus 1-2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 bunch kale, chard, or collard greens, about 10-12 oz, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
3 T apple cider vinegar
Tabasco sauce (optional)

Stovetop instructions
Cook bacon until crisp. Set aside, and pour away all but 2 T of grease. Saute sausage until nearly blackened, then set aside. Lightly caramelize onion, celery (if using), pepper, and garlic. Add remaining ingredients except greens, vinegar, and Tabasco. Simmer, partially covered, until beans start to fall apart and become creamy, 1.5 to 2 hours. If using collard greens, add at the start of cooking. If using chard or kale, add immediately after finishing cooking. These greens are delicate enough that they will wilt just the right amount while still retaining a bit of fresh flavor and texture. Add vinegar and Tabasco sauce if using.

Instant Pot or pressure cooker instructions:
Using the saute feature to saute meat and veggies as per stovetop instructions. Add remaining ingredients except vinegar and Tabasco. If using collard greens, add them now, but if using chard or kale, reserve until the end. Set the Instant Pot to Beans/Chili for 50 minutes. Use quick release. If using chard or kale, add immediately after finishing cooking. Add vinegar and Tabasco sauce if using.

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