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Robert Gibson's pigeon peas and rice

Robert Gibson's pigeon peas and rice

8 ounces dried pigeon peas

2 tablespoons cooking oil

or bacon drippings

2 medium onions, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

1/2 pound smoked bacon with

skin, ham hocks or ham,

cut into small pieces

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

3 cups raw long-grain rice

Salt and pepper

3 or 4 fresh hot peppers,

crushed or minced

Makes 12 servings.

Soak pigeon peas overnight; rinse and drain. Place in a large Dutch oven with at least 1 quart water. Boil peas for about 1-1/2 hours, until tender but not mushy. Drain, reserving liquid and setting peas aside.

In the same pot, heat the oil over medium-high. Saute onions, peppers and bacon until vegetables are tender. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until dark brown. Add thyme, drained peas and rice, stirring until rice turns light brown.

Add reserved liquid. If there's not enough to just cover the peas and rice, add water. Add salt and pepper to taste and hot peppers. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stir once, cover pot, reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Each grain of rice should be separate.

Nutritional information per serving: 268 calories (40 calories from fat), 4 g fat (1 g saturated, 2 g monounsaturated), 9 mg cholesterol, 9 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 408 mg sodium.