Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yellow Eye Pea Soup

It was a cool and rainy spring day in the mountains. At noon, I had several windows open around the house, the air was so nice, the birds were singing, it was 63 degrees, I was wearing sweatpants, and trying to figure out what to cook for supper. I kept thinking of salads and fresh spring vegetables, but my body kept reminding me that I wanted something warm. Spring is tricky that way. Shhh, don't tell anyone, but Spring is not my favorite season.

I had a ham bone in the fridge, my usual large stash of bean varieties, several jars of tomatoes I canned last summer, and decided to start there to make a soup. I chose yellow eye peas
Yellow eye peas are an heirloom bean dating back to the 1860's. They are a white bean with a yellowish-brown spot around the eye. They are a little larger than a black eye pea but smaller than a pinto bean. Their taste is milder and sweeter than either of the other beans.

I talk about my love of beans a lot. And there is a lot to love about beans. They are a healthy and inexpensive source of protein, they are a nutritional powerhouse, and they are delicious.

I always start every bean recipe by asking you to sort and pick through your beans, and this is why. Those are clods of dirt and/or small stones. If they are dirt clods, they will dissolve and you will have grit in your beans. If they are stones, they can crack a molar! I inspect my beans by pouring about a cup or so into a pie plate, spread them about, look closely, and remove any foreign matter. Then rinse thoroughly.

Yellow Eye Pea Soup

1 pound yellow eye peas

1 ham bone or ham hock

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 stalks celery, sliced

2 - 3 carrots, sliced

3 -4 cloves garlic, minced

1 quart tomatoes, undrained

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1/4 tsp. (or more) cayenne pepper

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup fresh parsley

Lime for serving

After beans have been inspected and rinsed, cover with water to about 1 inch over the beans. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and let beans set for about 1 hour. After an hour, drain and cover with fresh water. Add ham bone to the beans. Bring the beans and ham bone to a boil, then cover, reduce to simmer, and cook for about an hour, until tender.

Remove the ham bone and when cool enough to handle, remove ham pieces and add to the beans. Discard bone.

Saute onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, in the olive oil until tender but not browned. Add to the beans. Stir in tomatoes, soy sauce, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and adjust seasonings.

Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.


  1. Those are some stunning looking peas. I've never seen those before but I'm intrigued. The soup sounds delicious and comforting, I'll have to bookmark this for the winter (meaning, when our temperatures are below 100F) LOL

  2. I have to try these beans! I am always on the lookout for a new bean to learn about and bean recipes to make. thanks so much.

  3. I've never seen these beans before either! I'll have to keep an eye out for them & try this really soon. I love anything and everything to do with beans.