I look forward to my Bon Appetite magazine every month. It’s one of my favorite food magazines. I have stacks on stacks piled on book shelves all over the house. I fell in love with their February 2016 issue, especially the “Cool Beans” article, which is the perfect guide to cooking with dried beans. This weekend, the weather went from a sunny 80 degrees to rainy and in the 60’s overnight (ruining my gardening plans), so I stayed inside all weekend, did boring housework, and made a batch of Black-Eyed Pea Chile Verde to brighten the gloomy day.
I’ve made BA’s Black-Eyed Pea Chile Verde a few times, and it’s a keeper! It does require a little bit of planning as you need to let the black-eyed peas soak overnight, otherwise the recipe is fairly straightforward and easy to follow. Luckily, I scored the ham hocks from Easter dinner, and they have been waiting in the freezer for the sole purpose of being transformed into this soup. I’ve also used a small ham or pork roast,and that’s worked fine as well. There is an excessive amount of tomatillos in my freezer from my garden last summer. (Not kidding when I say excessive, my garden was basically planned around making chile verde sauce). Just had to run to the store to get poblanos, serranos, and cilantro. We always have onions and garlic in the house. Listing off the ingredients is making my mouth water…. I can’t get enough of this soup; think of it as sort of a Mexican split pea soup.
If you go to the BA site and look at their pictures, well, I don’t know how BA got their soup to be so incredibly green! My black-eyed pea chile verde has never been that vibrantly green, no matter how many times I’ve made it or how closely I follow the recipe or how much cilantro I add… despite my soup being unable to achieve the same visual aesthetics of the BA version, it still tastes incredible. And this is one of those soups that tastes better as leftovers and the flavors of the smoked ham and chile verde sauce have melded together.
Cooking with dried beans is awesome. I feel like it takes you back to a simpler time, before all the convenience of grocery store canned beans…. not that canned beans are a bad thing; I keep the pantry stocked with a variety of canned beans. But dried beans…dried beans taste so much more pure and earthy than canned beans. I’m slowly converting myself to cooking with dried beans over canned beans, but it takes planning and planning is not one of my strengths.
I plan on making some of the other recipes from the “Cool Beans” article in the near future, even with the warmer weather, I still enjoy soups. And there’s nothing better than slow simmering a big batch of bean soup over the weekend and having leftovers for a few weeknight dinners.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 ham hocks or 2 -3 lb ham/pork roast
- 2 large yellow onions - 1 chopped (for the soup), 1 quartered (for the verde sauce)
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 cups black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
- 4 poblano chiles, seeds removed if desired
- 4 serrano chiles, seeds removed if desired
- 1½ lb tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
- 2 cups cilantro leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sour cream, cotija, and chives for serving
- Soak black-eyed peas overnight. Place in a medium bowl and cover with several inches of cold water. You can soak in the refrigerator or at room temperature but note that they might start to sprout at room temp, which is fine.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat.
- Sear ham hocks, turn very few minutes until evenly browned, about 10 minutes
- Add the chopped onion and garlic, cook until soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add coriander and cumin, stirring until fragrant.
- Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add black-eyed peas to pot, cover and cook for about 1½ to 2 hours, skimming foam from surface.
- Remove hocks, let cool and pick meat from bone. If using a pork roast or ham, shred or chop.
- Return meat to pot and continue to simmer on low.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss the quartered onion, poblano chiles, serrano chiles, and tomatillos on a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tbsp oil.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast until lightly browned around the edges, turning halfway through, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
- Place roasted chile mixture in a blender with cilantro and puree until smooth.
- Stir puree mixture into bean mixture.
- Serve topped with sour cream, cotija, and chives.