Hoppin John Soup

1 pound dried black-eyed peas

2 small smoked ham hocks or meaty ham bone

2 medium onions, chopped

3 large cloves garlic, minced

4 cups kale*

1 bay leaf

1 cup long-grain white rice

1 quart diced tomatoes

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 green onions, sliced

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, combine the black-eyed peas, ham bone or ham hocks, and 6 cups water. Cut 1 of the onions in half and add it to the pot along with the garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove the ham bone or hocks, cut off the meat; dice and set aside.

In a frying pan sauté onions, celery and peppers in oil. until lightly golden and add to the pot of soup. Also add in the rice, 2 cups water, kale, seasonings, tomatoes and salt. Cook for about 20 minutes.  Add green onions to the serving bowls.

*I used my kale that I had froze in the summer.  All cooked, I added about 2 cups.  If you buy it at the store- you may want to par boil in another pot because it sometimes can leave behind a bitter taste.  I have not found this with bagged baby kale though.