Yellow Eye Beans with Smoked Chicken

It’s a wild time in American food media right now. It’s an ecosystem I observe from a bit of a (privileged) remove and it’s been wild to see problems that have been obvious for years suddenly seemingly coming a head and spilling over. I might have a bit more to say about this in a couple of days if it doesn’t all get worked over by smart(er) people on Twitter who are closer to/in that world. On Thursday, probably. Today all I have is a recipe for beans. As always, I use beans from Rancho Gordo. In this case, it involves Yellow Eye beans but you can also make it with a number of their other beans, including Cranberry, Marcella, Moro and even the Midnight Black. This is a very simple prep indeed—as long as you have a carcass of a smoked chicken on hand. And if you don’t, a smoked pork hock or smoked ham will do. And if you don’t have that either, maybe just the carcass of a roast chicken. Or if you’re vegetarian/vegan maybe some smoked tofu. Just as long as you have a way of getting some smoke in there (liquid smoke?).


  • 1 lb Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye beans or similar. rinsed
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Half a large yellow onion, chopped
  • Carcass of a small smoked chicken, meat picked off and reserved
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Cracked black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in your bean pot of choice over medium heat and add the chopped onion. Saute for 10 minutes or so, till completely softened and beginning to brown.
  2. Add the garlic and saute for a few more minutes.
  3. Add the beans and water and bring to a hard boil for about 10 minutes and the reduce to a high simmer.
  4. Add the smoked chicken carcass (or whatever sub you’re using) and the bay leaves, cover the pot and cook at the lowest simmer possible till the beans are done (about 90 minutes, probably, if using Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye beans).
  5. When the beans are done (yielding easily to the bite but still holding their shape) add the reserved picked meat.
  6. Taste and add salt as needed.
  7. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, crack some black pepper over and serve with bread or just by itself with some sauteed greens on the side.


  1. This is a very simple recipe with very few ingredients. It is crucial therefore that the ingredients, especially the beans, be the best you can afford/find.
  2. Remember, your smoked meat is likely to be salty—don’t add salt without first tasting the pot liquor.
  3. The final consistency should be easily pourable but far from watery. Add water as needed as you go and if it’s too soupy when the beans are done, uncover and cook some of the water off.

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