I flew home last Tuesday from an intense two-week study trip to New Orleans. OK, there may have been a little fun thrown in there. But, since then, it’s been all about work and school. I spent most of the weekend reading and writing, but I did manage to carve out some time to cook those beautiful yellow eye beans from Cayuga Pure Organics that I picked up last month.
Dried beans may seem intimidating, but they are infinitely better than canned and it’s honestly hard to screw them up. They’re also cheap and a great source of nutrition. Ideally, you soak them overnight, after which they should look something like the photo below. But the quick-soak method is just fine. Add the beans along with enough water to cover them to a pot, bring to a boil over high heat for a few minutes, and then let soak for a couple of hours. Whichever method you choose, be sure to drain them.
Yellow Eye Bean Stew
- 1 pound dried yellow eye beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 6 ounces bacon, roughly cut
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 5 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- dried, smoked chili peppers (to taste)
- 1 pound smoked pork neck bones (A ham hock or even a smoked turkey wing or two would also do the trick.)
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- Render the bacon in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the onions and cook until wilted but not yet browned.
- Add the celery and carrots and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Add the beans, garlic, dried chili peppers, neck bones, bay leaf, and enough water to cover.
- Bring to a boil and then let simmer until the beans are tender, about two hours. (If by chance you just tossed in a few peppers from your extensive and unlabeled collection, you might want to taste the broth midway through. If it has already reached that sinus-clearing point but is just shy of bringing tears to your eyes, it’s probably time to remove the chilis.)
- Remove the neck bones, strip off any remaining meat, chop roughly, and add back to the pot.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
I love me some beans. And I love them even more when they’re served with greens. I cooked these up on Sunday night, took a nice helping over to my neighbors’ apartment, and have been eating the rest throughout the week along with some mustard greens that I had in the fridge.
Last night, I tossed the beans, raw mustard greens, and some cherry tomatoes with an apple cider and whole-grain mustard vinaigrette.
Tonight, I heated the beans up with some additional water, added the mustard greens, and simmered until they were lightly cooked. A few splashes of a vinegar-based hot sauce was the finishing touch.