Heirloom Yellow Eye Beans


This past holiday season, I got a lot of cooking related gifts — things like ravioli presses, a comal for making tortillas, and an attachment for my mixer to make homemade pasta.  But one of my favorite presents was a gift set of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo.  The set included three types of different beans — Yellow Eye, Rio Zape, and Christmas Lima Beans and came with a small jar of Mexican oregano.  My partner threw in their Heirloom Beans Cookbook too.IMG_4824

I was so excited to get all of these unusual beans that I made the Rio Zape beans the day after Christmas, and served them to friends who were visiting The Dusty Dog for the first time.  For dinner we ate them served on flour tortillas with the fixings for burritos, and I used the leftovers the next day as a topping to the nachos we ate after a hard snow shoeing adventure.

I’ve always doctored beans with all sorts of things — especially tomatoes and seasonings, but I decided to take Rancho Gordo’s lead when I made these Yellow Eye Beans a couple of weeks later.  They say not to add tomatoes until the end because the acid in the tomatoes can make the beans tough.  I have a hard enough time getting beans soft enough at 7900 feet let alone adding something that could make them even tougher.  They also recommended allowing the beans to speak for themselves because heirloom beans have a nice flavor that stands alone not needing a whole lot of help from other ingredients.  I tossed my bean know how to the side and dove into making these Yellow Eyes without all the frills.  They turned out delicious.

Next time you need a present for someone, consider a gift box of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo, or treat yourself to some.  Either way, there beans are high in flavor and really don’t need a lot of help from a bunch of other ingredients.

Heirloom Yellow Eye Beans


Note:  You can use any kind of beans and follow this recipe.


One package (16 ounces) yellow eye beans soaked over night in 3 cups of water, 1 beer, & 1 tbsp baking powder.  Rinse in the morning.

2 tbsp olive oil

One large yellow onion chopped

4 celery stalks chopped

8 cups water

3 garlic cloves minced

2 to 3 tsp Better Than Bouillon brand organic vegetable bouillon (start out with 2 teaspoons, and let the beans cook for a while before deciding if you need more).


Pressure Cooking the Beans:

If you live at a high elevation, you will need to pressure cook the beans before getting the rest of the ingredients together.  Or, if you are in a hurry, you could put all of the ingredients into the pressure cooker with the beans and cook them that way.  I prefer to cook beans long and slow on the stove after I’ve pressure cooked them.

If you are pressure cooking your beans look at the instruction booklet for your pressure cooker.  I pressure cook beans on high for 20 minutes after the steam starts to escape.

Preparing the Other Bean Ingredients:

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and celery and saute for 10 minutes on medium heat.  Once the onions and celery are translucent, add the water, minced garlic, bouillon, and beans and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and allow the beans to simmer on low for as long as you like.  I prefer thick beans with very little juice, which takes about 4 hours, but you can stop cooking them while there is still a lot of liquid and serve them that way.   Either way, these beans are rich and sweet and can be served alone in a bowl, on a tortilla with toppings of your choice, on nachos, or next to your eggs for breakfast.


Makes about 10 servings

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About Lisa Orwig

I'm a homegrown cook sharing recipes and other great stuff about food from all over the world.
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