While I use a small amount of pork for flavor and fat, black-eyed peas are the star in this health-friendly chile verde, resulting in plant based deliciousness.
There are few foods that have the unique combination of affordable, healthy nutrients and easy accessibility that beans offer. Beans are a staple in the cuisines of every Blue Zone – the places in the world where people routinely have the longest and healthiest lives.
Beans are low in fat and high in fiber and protein; making them a great alternative to animal protein sources. Packed with soluble fiber, beans are adept at removing bad cholesterol from your system, via the intestines, making them super heart-healthy. They are also a good source of isoflavones, also known as phytoestrogens, which can help prevent some forms of cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve bone health.
I love the zesty flavors from the peppers in this recipe. Chile peppers have many health benefits, including weight control, improving gut health and the immune system, and preventing inflammatory arthritis pain. The healing benefits come from the compound capsaicin, which is what gives peppers their heat. Capsaicin actually increases your internal pain killers, or endorphins, improves circulation, acts as a decongestant, and can even help people lose weight.
Although soups and stews take a bit of time to prepare, you can get multiple meals from one batch. Often, I will make this recipe and enjoy it for dinner the first night, and then use it for lunch later in the week. It also freezes well. Getting more plant based foods into your diet should be satisfying and flavorful. This recipe is typical of Blue Zone cooking, – it incorporates a small amount of meat for flavor and fat, but is mostly health-supporting vegetables.
Chile Verde with Black-Eyed Peas Recipe
- 2 smoked ham hocks
- 2 Tbs. olive oil plus an additional 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 large sweet onions 1 chopped, 1 quartered
- 6 cloves sliced garlic
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 8 cups of water
- 4 14 oz cans organic canned black-eyed peas rinsed and drained
- 4 serrano chiles seeded
- 3 poblano chiles seeded
- 1 lb tomatillos husks removed, rinsed
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups cilantro leaves
- Sour cream
- Chives chopped
- Heat the 2 Tbs olive oil on medium in heavy bottom stock pot or Dutch oven. Brown ham hocks in oil on all sides.
- Add chopped onion and garlic to browned ham hocks and cook until vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add coriander and cumin and stir 1 minute.
- Add 8 cups of water to pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 2 hours, skimming foam from the surface.
- Add black-eyed peas to pot and simmer 20 minutes. Remove ham hocks and let cool. Pick and shred meat from bones and discard fat and bones.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss quartered onion, poblanos, 2 serrano chiles and the tomatillos together with the 1 Tbsp. olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast until lightly browned, turning occasionally, 15-20 minutes. Cool 20 minutes.
- Puree cooled chile mixture in a blender or food processor. Add cilantro, and serrano chiles, and puree until smooth.
- Stir the chile mixture into the bean mixture and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with sour cream and chopped chives.