Yesterday was the first day of school, and I don’t know who was more excited, my daughter or me. She’s in a new school and riding the bus for the first time, and, best of all, her best friend is in her class. She was so eager to start that yesterday she woke up at 4:30, got dressed, made her own lunch, and ate breakfast all before waking us up at 5:15. If this level of enthusiasm persists, I might be able to start sleeping until 6:00!
Since we were all involved in back-to-school preparations this weekend, I cooked only fast food–bean burritos, mac and “cheese”–for the past few nights . Last night I got back into the kitchen for some “real” cooking and used some lovely okra that I bought in Louisiana to make this combination of gumbo and Hoppin’ John: I pressure cooked 1 cup of black-eyed peas in 3 cups of water and added them to this scrumptious stew of okra and tomatoes. The okra as well as the onions give this spicy dish a slight sweetness that you wouldn’t expect, but I found it quite delicious.
Black-eyed Pea Gumbo
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 4 cups vegetable broth, water, or a combination
- 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 1 pound okra, tops removed and sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1-2 tsp. chopped chipotle peppers (canned in adobo)
- 1/4 tsp. Liquid Smoke (optional)
- 2 1/2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, plus cooking liquid (1 cup dried black-eyed peas cooked in 3 cups water)*
- salt to taste (optional)
- Heat a large, non-stick stock pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook, stirring regularly, until they begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the bell pepper and celery, and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until okra is done and mixture has thickened, about 45-55 minutes. Add more water as needed–this will be thicker than a soup but still have a good amount of broth. Serve over freshly cooked brown rice and add hot sauce at the table.
*You can use canned black-eyed peas–use 2 16-ounce cans, rinse them first and add some extra water or broth to the gumbo.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Makes 6-8 servings. For 6 servings, each serving contains: 153 Calories (kcal); 1 g Total Fat; (4% calories from fat); 9 g Protein; 30 g Carbohydrate; trace Cholesterol; 53 mg Sodium; 9 g Fiber; 111 mg Calcium
Eat your okra; it’s good for you! It’s low in calories and high in calcium and folate. If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, adding some okra to your diet could help: The “sticky” type of soluble fiber in okra helps bind the cholesterol in your digestive tract and sweep it out of your body.
And truly, once it’s cooked, okra is NOT slimy!