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Smoky Yellow Eye Bean Soup

Well.  It's official.  I am now closer to 40 than to 30.  My daughter and I were talking this morning before she set off for school...they're working on rounding in math right now...about how she would round me up to forty.  Technically, she would have last year, as well.  But somehow that six following the three is more in your face than the five was.  And really, it's not that I mind being older.  Thirties is a good block, so far.  I don't feel much older.  Sure, in certain ways I do.  But looking in the mirror, it's easy to see past the extra pounds, the creeping grey hairs, and gravity at play. While those who didn't know me back then probably can't imagine, I still see that girl I was 15-20 years ago.  Have I mentioned recently how quickly time flies?  Oh.  Yes.  Yes, I have.

So, though time marches on, some things never change.  Like my love for beans and pork together.  They are just the perfect match.  I used Yellow Eye beans for the first time to make a big pot of soup that, when combined with some savory smoked pork necks and the slow heat of smoky chipotles, formed a big bowl of comfort that we didn't want to stop eating.  While I served it with some Seeded Mixed Brown bread the first day (and thoroughly enjoyed it), we greedily devoured it the second day.  Why?  Well, because the beans had begun to break down a bit and thicken up the soup and the smokiness of the pork and chipotles intensified, as did the heat.  But the clincher?  That was the slightly sweet, orange-scented Pan de Muerto that wound up being the best thing ever for sopping up the glorious broth.

It's true, some things are ageless.  Like true beauty.  And the combination of pork and beans.  My brain works in mysterious ways.  
Smoky Yellow Eye Bean Soup
As is the case with most soups, this is even better the second or even third day.  The beans start to break down and thicken the smoky broth, making it basically irresistible.
from the kitchen of girlichef
serves: ~6-8

1 lb. Yellow Eye Beans
(~12 oz) smoked pork neck pieces (or neck, hock, etc)
2 small onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh bay leaves
small handful thyme sprigs
8 c. water
garlic powder
1-2 chipotles en adobo, chopped
1-2 Tbs. adobo sauce (from a tin of chipotles)
Cover beans with water by a couple of inches.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Drain, rinse, and put in a large Dutch oven with the smoked pork necks, onions, carrots, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, a few good grinds of black pepper, and the water.  Bring to a boil, then partially cover, lower to a simmer and cook for ~1-1½ hours, until beans are tender.

Season to taste with salt and garlic powder.  Stir in the chipotles and adobo sauce (start with the lower amount and increase to add more heat).  At this point, remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  You can remove the pork necks and pull off the meat and add it back to the soup.  I do this if I'm serving it to company or taking it somewhere.  However, we usually just leave them in at home...hubby likes to eat it right from the bone.  
Speaking of time flying, it simultaneously seems like just yesterday...and ages ago...that I hung out with college buddies, drinking beer from a keg out of plastic cups.  Guess who I'm rooting for on Survivor every week!?
That's me on the far right with Jim (& Lisa)...way before Survivor.  Time flies!

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