black-eyed pea risotto


Sunday mornings are a bit different around our house these days. The elements of the worship service were recorded on Thursday so they could be e-mailed this morning. Ginger doesn’t have to go over for the 8:30 chapel service and we will all stay home at 10 to worship online and visualize all the things that connect our congregation.

It seems like a good time to post a recipe.

This one grew out of a dinner I made for a group of women who gather monthly to build their friendships. They invited me to come cook dinner and talk theology; how could I refuse? (This was pre-virus, by the way.) I made a pimento cheese stuffed pork tenderloin (I’ll post that recipe another time) and black-eyed pea risotto, or New England Hoppin’ John. When I came home and told Ginger the menu, she asked why I didn’t bring any risotto home. Ginger is allergic to onions and the recipe I made had shallots in it. I knew she would want some, so I made a Ginger version here at the house, which brings me to an important truth about risotto: you can add or leave out pretty much anything you want.

If risotto is not something you have cooked, here is a good basic tutorial.

black-eyed pea risotto

Here is a list of the ingredients I used. As I said, you can add or take away according to your own taste.

4-6 slices bacon, chopped (Could also use pancetta)
2 tablespoons butter, or olive oil
2 shallots, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2-5 cloves garlic, minced (up to you)
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock, hot
1 can black-eyed peas, drained and washed
1 can green chiles
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

(other possible ingredients: greens (if not cooked, add them early in the process so they will be), parmesan cheese (or other grated cheese), hotter peppers, diced carrots or celery)

Cook chopped bacon in a dutch oven over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp–5-6 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain. Leave bacon grease in the pot.

Add butter to bacon fat and heat over moderate heat until the foam subsides, then add shallots and cook until they are caramelized and golden–6-8 minutes. Stir occasionally.

In the mean time, heat up the chicken stock in a saucepan. You want it good and hot, but it doesn’t need to be boiling. Open the can of black-eyed peas; wash and drain them and set them side. Open the can of green chiles and add them to the black-eyed peas. Once the bacon is drained, you can add it here as well.

When the shallots are ready, add the garlic and cook for about a minute, then add the arborio rice and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add the wine and cook over moderately high heat until the wine is mostly absorbed–about two minutes. Then begin adding the chicken stock about a half a cup, or a ladleful, at a time. Stir until liquid is almost completely absorbed and then add another half a cup. You will be stirring almost constantly. This is not a recipe you can walk away from. When you get down to the last cup of broth, add the black-eyed peas, chiles, and bacon. After you add the last of the stock, add the lemon juice. If you wanted to add cheese, add it here.

Salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and stir in fresh parsley. Put the lid on the dutch oven and let the risotto sit for about ten minutes before you serve it.

Yes, this takes some work. It’s worth it.



  1. I just happen to have leftover collards! Tried growing some this late in the year with seeds that claim to be heat resistant, and it’s working!! May have to be with rice, though. No grocery store run these days to pick up an item, and not sure I have risotto. But soon as I can, I’ll try exactly as you suggest. Sunday blessings!

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