Kale, Black Eyed Peas, and Bacon

Kale and Black Eyed Peas

We’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately now that the garden is in full swing.  This time of year can be a little awkward in the kitchen for some of you gardeners and CSA members out there, if you’re in a climate like Idaho.  While the tomatoes and corn aren’t quite ready yet, the greens and root crops are rolling in by the armload.  Folks tend to be a little less familiar with how to cook these items, so have a look at what’s been going on in the Cast Iron Kitchens lately.

We recently stumbled upon a book sale and scored a couple of new, beautiful, “Americana” type cookbooks for $1 in the bargain bins at Albertson’s.  This is the first recipe I tried from one of them, making a bunch of changes based on what was available in my garden.

Rio, our son, LOVES cooked beans.  “Bean” was one of his first food words.  And we have armloads of kale.  And I cooked this in the crock pot, which I love this time of year because it’s quick and doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and because you don’t have to remember to soak your dry beans before cooking them in the crock pot.  It’s a win-win-win.


  • 8 slices bacon
  • 2-3 spring onions (or a large onion)
  • 2 carrots (optional)
  • 1 kohlrabi bulb (optional, original recipe used celery)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • large jar of canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups dried black eyed peas
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • A hot pepper option – I used a pickled jalapeno from last year’s garden.  Recipe called for “canned chipotle pepers in adobo sauce” which sounds delicious.  Dried or fresh will also work, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp honey and
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard (I just realized I forgot both of these when I made it, but are from the original recipe.  You can try them or not.)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Huge bunch of Kale
  • Grated Monterey Jack cheese

Cut bacon into small pieces, fry it up in your cast iron skillet.  Add onions, carrot, and peeled and chopped kohlrabi, and any other hard veggies you might want to add.  Saute, add cumin and coriander.  Put this in your crockpot and add the rest of the ingredients except for the kale, cheese, salt and pepper.  Once the beans have cooked, salt and pepper to taste.  When you’re almost  ready to serve it, chop the kale into very thin strips, and stir it in with the crockpot on high.  Let it cook only until the kale is lightly steamed.

Serve hot with grated cheese or at room temperature.  Since it’s been really hot in Boise, we’ve been into eating some of our food less than piping hot, and if you don’t overcook the kale, it’s more like a warm kale salad than a soup.  We ate it with a slice of cheese toast, yum.

If you don’t have a crock pot, you can make this on the stove, but you might want to soak the beans first.  The original recipe called for canned ones, which aren’t as good, but if you’re a mom who’s kid loves beans, we totally understand.

— Katie


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