Greek-Style, Black-eyed Pea Stew with Ground Beef, Spices and Oregano

(Serves about 6 entree-size portions)

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
½ pound lean ground beef
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 onion, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons dry oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas
5 cups beef (or chicken) stock, hot
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preparation:

-Place a large pot over medium-high heat, and once hot, add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil; once the oil is hot, add the ground beef in, and using your spoon, break up the beef to crumble it well, and allow it to brown for about a minute or two; next, add in the sea salt and black pepper, as well as the diced onion, celery, carrots, minced garlic and dry oregano, and stir to combine; allow this mixture to cook for about 2 minutes; next, add in the cumin, cinnamon and tomato paste, and stir to combine; allow this to cook for about 1-2 minutes, to cook out the “raw” flavor or the tomato paste; next, add in the black-eyed peas and the beef (or chicken) stock, stir to combine, and simmer gently, covered, for about 20 minutes; after 20 minutes, smash the black-eyed peas lightly with a potato masher to break them up a bit and release their natural starches to thicken the stew; cover, and simmer an additional 20 minutes, stirring ever so often to keep the peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot; to finish the stew, add in the chopped parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice, and check to see if you need to add additional salt/pepper; serve with a little drizzle of olive oil on top, with warm, crusty bread on the side.