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Smoky Kale-and-Bean Stew with Cheesy Croutons

Smoky Kale-and-Bean Stew with Cheesy Croutons

Leigh Belanger and Rebecca Haley-Park
No need to soak or cook the black-eyed peas ahead of time—a stint in the spicy broth is all it takes for tender beans.
Servings 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced, plus 1 whole clove
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups stemmed and chopped lacinato kale
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 5 ounces Idiazábal cheese grated, divided
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 1- inch-thick baguette slices


  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic and smoked paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add vegetable stock, black-eyed peas, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until beans are just tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Add kale and simmer 10 additional minutes. Add red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and 1 ounce of cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove and discard bay leaves and keep soup warm over low heat.
  • Meanwhile, make the croutons. Heat broiler and halve remaining garlic clove. Rub bread slices with garlic clove and broil directly on oven rack until just toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, top with equal portions of grated cheese, then return to the oven for an additional 2 to 3 minutes to melt the cheese.
  • Once croutons are done, ladle soup into bowls and top each bowl with a crouton. Serve.

Rebecca Haley-Park

Rebecca Haley-Park is culture's former editor and resident stinky cheese cheerleader. A native New Englander, she holds a BFA in creative writing from University of Maine at Farmington.

Leigh Belanger

Leigh Belanger is culture's former food editor. She's been a food writer, editor, and project manager for over a decade— serving as program director for Chefs Collaborative and contributing to local newspapers and magazines. Her first book, The Boston Homegrown Cookbook, was published in 2012. She lives and cooks in Boston with her family.