This dish could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon. On the other hand, it would be perfect for New Year's Day because it contains greens, pork and black eyed peas. It has a certain earthiness to it that is perfect for a cold winter night. Serve it with corn bread and you will have a dish worthy of a regular rotation on your menus.
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
8 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice (I used a 14.5 oz. can of diced and a can of Rotel)
1 15 oz. can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1 or 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. ground coriander
1 T. honey
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 bunch kale (about a half a pound) torn into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and allow it to render a bit (about two minutes), stirring regularly to stop it from sticking.
Add the onions, celery and garlic. Stir well to coat everything in the fat, and keep cooking for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the tomatoes, black-eyed peas, chicken broth, 1 cup of water and the chipotle peppers, cumin and coriander. Stir to mix everything together well, then let the chili cook, uncovered over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the flavors come together.
Stir in the honey and mustard. Stir in the kale and cook for 10 minutes or so until the kale is tender.
Serve the chili in large bowls with a topping of the shredded cheese. Don't forget to cook some cornbread!
From American Flavor by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman