Yellow Eye Chowder

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Yellow Eye Chowder

I have been so excited about trying my heirloom beans, but it was hard to decide what to make. First of all these aren’t ordinary beans, so I didn’t want to waste them on any old recipe. Second of all, every single recipe in Heirloom Beans: Great Recipes for Dips and Spreads, Soups and Stews, Salads and Salsas, and Much More from Rancho Gordo sounded like something I wanted to try. Well, I finally settled on yellow eye chowder, because I love, love, love bean soups.

The recipe calls for smoked chicken, which I didn’t have. I planned on using some bacon and a few chicken thighs as a substitution. But, I had this wonderful, fabulous bacon from my CSA. It was so unbelievably smokey, that I thought the chicken would really add nothing to the dish. So, I went with the bacon alone. This was wonderful. The yellow eye beans were creamy and had a similar, but milder flavor than black eye peas. The sweet potatoes complimented them really well, and the sage added an earthiness to the dish. Really nice!

Sorry for the bad picture. I think it’s hard to make a bean soup attractive. And what’s up with that piece of sage leaf that looks like half an arrow!?

Yellow Eye Chowder
Serves 6 to 8

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound yellow eye beans
2 small sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 pound smoked chicken (or bacon!)
3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper
fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Soak beans overnight.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and saute about 10 minutes. Add the beans and their soaking water, add more water if necessary to cover the beans by about an inch. Bring to a boil, cover partially, and simmer until the beans are just starting to soften, about an hour.

Add the sweet potatoes, chicken, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes and beans are tender. Serve garnished with parsley.

(Since I used bacon, I skipped the olive oil. I sauteed the bacon until it was crisp, and then sauteed the vegetables in the bacon fat, and proceeded with the recipe as it was written, omitting the part about adding the chicken.)

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  1. says

    Hi, I found your blog from frontside. I invite you to visit Surakarta, a beautiful city in central java, Indonesia. for your reference, visit my blog and leave a comment. also, invite your friends to visit my blog and visit Indonesia. Thank you.

  2. says

    Wow! beautiful. I love love love bean soup too.. but rarely change my recipes.. with the whole family Asperger’s expect me, the changing of food is verboden(spelling?) anywhoo.. I live in wonder that you have people and will try new stuff with you. Oh the glory!.. the boys will love the half arrow sage though!

  3. not know how to name says

    First when I look at the picture ,I was abstract with it.It really looks wonderful!I almost drool my mouth water!And I think it is just a very good dish to eat in winter ,for it is winter here in my country. But I don`t know exactly that what sage is.In the dictionary it was explainded that a wiser.So can you give some picture about it or give some suggestions to me .Thank you so much!

  4. says

    I wish we had the Rancho Gordo beans up here, I keep reading great things about them.
    If you give DebinHawaii the link to this post (in a comment), she will include it in her Souper Sunday round-up.
    Looks so healthy and satisfying, Happy Holidays!

  5. says

    It looks so delicious… and that’s saying something, since it’s 5 am here and I an NOT a breakfast person.
    Gotta love the half arrow – I think it’s saying “insert spoon “here”.

  6. Pam says

    masbanu – thank you for view of Indonesia.

    Maybelle’s – sorry, they are wonderful!

    Chellebelle – I rarely change recipes either, I’m not very adventuresome.

    Not know – the sage that I am talking about is an herb. If you do a google on sage and herb you should be able to read about it. It has a wonderful earthy flavor.

    Shabby – sorry, it’s all in my tummy!

  7. says

    Hi Pam….thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving such nice comments! :)

    This chowder looks delicious….and warm and comforting! Even just the picture brightened up the dreary November day here. I always look forward to your new posts. :)


  8. says

    Hi, I love the look of the chowder, half arrow sage and all. I always enjoy reading your receipes. This time though, I also went through your book list and putting your obvious interest in mysteries together with some of your other choices, thought I might recommend one by a friend of mine. The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez is one you might like also. I’m on here as well at and at

  9. says

    Hi, My name is Sage! like the herb. I love bean soup. my Grama also makes a killer italian bread soup, too. one of my fave dinners is home-made sauce and sausage on white bread.

  10. says

    yellow eye beans, eh? i’ve never heard of ’em, and i’m deeply ashamed of that fact since i proclaim to be a bean lover. :)
    gorgeous, soul-warming soup, pam. :)

  11. says

    Before reading your recipe I put a pot of sweet potato curry on the stove. Almost a duplicate of your recipe only I used garbanzos in and some leftover cauliflower — and, of course, the curry paste. It smells wonderful. Loved your recipe and will try it your way next time.

  12. says

    Ha! I made some Yellow Eye beans too. Posted on 11/19. Chowder might be my next excursion with the Rancho Gordos. I bought all different kinds of beans when I saw them at the Ferry Building in SF.

  13. says

    I found your blog on the featured ones of the homepage. I was so excited to see a bean soup on your blog. Bean soups are probably my favourite and I’ve been looking for a new one to try. And about the picture, it’s fantastic!!!

  14. says

    My wife and I have been looking for good chowder recipes. This is the best one yet!

    Keep up the good work and, please, some more chowder recipes.


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