Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Slowcooker Pancetta, Kale and Black-eyed Pea Soup

We are entering the season of outdoor sports, for my kids that means soccer season, aka craziness! Previous years only my daughter Sloane has played, and for her it's two practices per week, and one game on weekends.  This year my 4 year old, Presley, is also playing.  I have no idea what his schedule will be like, but it is sure to be hectic!  A soccer schedule is NOT ideal for parents who work full time, and parents who also refuse to buy their children fast food meals two or more times per week.  I need to be uber-organized, with the meal ready to go pretty much as soon as we walk in the that we can leave the house another 20 minutes later.  I wish I was joking.  I'm kinda dreading it, but it's only for a few months, and it gets us all out of the house, and enjoying fresh air and exercise!  All good things, right?!

I had a package of Pancetta that needed to be used up stat, so that was my inspiration for trying out this recipe, which originally used bacon.  This recipe will be delish either way!  One step that you need to think ahead on is the black-eyed peas.  You can buy a bag of dried black-eyed peas that will last an eternity, or spend your money the canned variety.  Although cans are convenient, I am the cheap resourceful type, so I have a big jars of beans and legumes of all types in the pantry at the ready. 

If you're using the dried black-eyed peas you have two options:
Put the black-eyed peas in a big pot with lots of water. Soak them for at least 8 hours.
Put the black-eyed peas in a big pot with lots of water. Bring them to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover and wait 1 hour.  If you're using the canned peas, drain the can and make sure to rinse them well.

I chose to soak my black-eyed peas overnight.  In the morning I drained the peas, chopped up all the vegetables - while I cooked the pancetta, and then cooked the veg using the pancetta drippings.  I then threw it all into the slow cooker before going to work, and then just add back in the pancetta and kale about 5 minutes before serving.   I served this soup with delish mushroom and onion biscuits...stay tuned for the recipe for those yummers!

Pancetta, Kale and Black-eyed Pea Soup - In the Slow cooker!
Recipe adapted from: Dollop of Cream

2 cups dried black-eyed peas
1 package Pancetta, or 5  7 slices bacon, chopped (easiest to do frozen)
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. can whole tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon cumin
pinch of crushed red pepper (or Korean red pepper)
3-4 cups chicken broth
 3 cups kale, ribs removed, and roughly chopped

In a medium pan, cook the pancetta until it's just cooked and a bit crispy.  When the pancetta's done, use a slotted spoon to take it out and put it on a paper towel to soak up the grease, and then refrigerate for addition at the end.
Add the onion, carrot and celery to the drippings left in the pan, saute for about 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Transfer to slow cooker.  Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with your spoon, or crushing in your hand.  Also add salt, pepper, cumin and crushed red pepper.
Pour in the chicken broth and prepared black-eyed peas. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or so, or high  for 3-4 hours depending on your slow cooker.  Before you serve taste test, and add more salt and/or pepper according to your preference, then stir in the kale and pancetta and simmer for about 5 more minutes. 


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