Jeremy Fox’s Rustic Yellow Eye Bean Stew with Torn Bread Is the Comfort Food We All Need Right Now

Rustic Yellow Eye Bean Stew | Photo: Rick Poon

A bowlful of hearty stew just screams comfort food—something we all desperately need right now. Jeremy Fox, chef at Birdie G’s in Santa Monica (and Rustic Canyon and Tallula’s), shares a version from his own cookbook, On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen. This recipe comes together easily with ingredients most of us usually have at home and fills the house with that warm and cozy smell of something that’s been simmering on the stove all day. The best part is the crusty torn bread that you’ll crisp up and toss on top to serve—it’s that little something special that sends it over the top.

Serves 6-8


For the Yellow Eye Beans:

  • Stripped rosemary stems

  • 2 celery stalks

  • 1 carrot, halved lengthwise

  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise, tough green parts trimmed off

  • Stems from 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 head garlic, halved horizontally

  • 1 pound (455 g) dried yellow eye beans, soaked overnight

  • Kosher salt

For the Yellow Eye Bean Stew:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

  • 8 ounces (225 g) diced carrots

  • Kosher salt

  • 8 ounces (225 g) diced celery

  • 8 ounces (225 g) diced leeks (white and light green parts only; save the tougher green tops for another use, such as vegetable stock)

  • 1 bunch hearty greens like kale or collard greens, ribs removed and roughly chopped

  • ½ cup (70 g) chopped garlic (germ removed)

  • ¾ cup (60 g) chopped fresh rosemary leaves

  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes

  • 1 cup (225 g) tomato paste (purée)

To Serve:

  • About 1 pound (455 g) crusty bread, torn into bite-size pieces

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt


Make the Yellow Beans:

Pick the leaves off the rosemary sprigs and set the leaves aside for the stew. Take the rosemary stems and, using kitchen twine, tie them in a bundle with the celery, carrot, and leek. In a double layer of cheesecloth, combine the parsley stems and garlic halves and tie up to make a sachet. Place the beans, aromatics bundle, and sachet in a large pot and cover with 12 cups (2.8 liters) of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, and cook the beans just below a simmer, uncovered and skimming off any foam that rises to the top, until they have a creamy texture but are not falling apart. Depending on the freshness of the beans, this could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 ½ hours.

Remove and discard the bundle and sachet and season the beans with salt until the broth tastes good by itself. Remove the pot from the heat and set the beans and cooking liquid aside until you’re ready to make the stew. You could let the beans cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until you’re ready to make the stew.

Make the Yellow Eye Bean Stew:

In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots first (they will take the longest), season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the celery, leaks, and greens and season with salt. Allow them to cook down, stirring, for about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped garlic, rosemary, and chili flakes–– you want the garlic to become fragrant but not browned. Add the tomato paste and stir thoroughly to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes, allowing the tomato paste to toast. At this point, all of the vegetables should be cooked through but still have a bite. Taste them to make sure, and if they have too much bite, let them go a little longer.

Add the cooked beans, along with their liquid, and bring the pot to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove from the heat.

To Serve:

Toss the bread with a touch of olive oil and season with salt. Toast over medium heat in a large sauté pan until crispy on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Ladle the stew into bowls, and then follow with the toasted bread. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. 


Give yourself a one-day lead time for this recipe, as you’ll need to soak the beans overnight. You can also start cooking the stew while the beans are cooking. If the beans aren’t ready in time, just turn the heat off on the stew and wait for the beans to catch up. After picking the rosemary leaves, keep the stems to use in conjunction with the mirepoix when cooking the beans.

Should you be unable to find yellow eye beans (Rancho Gordo being my favorite source), any dried bean you like will work just fine.

Adapted from ON VEGETABLES: MODERN RECIPES FOR THE HOME KITCHEN by Jeremy Fox (Phaidon, $49.95 US/59.95 CAN, April 2017)


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


over 1 year ago

The recipe says 225g of tomato paste (puree). I’m confused, which one is best to use, paste or puree? I’ve made this fabulous stew a couple of times in the past and I have to say that it’s one of my all time favorites. I did reduce the amount of rosemary as I found the written amount to be a bit overpowering.


about 2 years ago

Made this for Sunday supper with my Rancho Gordo Yellow Eyes. So delicious! A bit of a production to make, but worth the effort. The broth is amazing! I admit that I did reduce the olive oil by about half, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I will make this again when Yellow Eyes show up in my bean club delivery. Thank you!

Lisa Alexander

about 2 years ago

David, we changed it to 70g garlic, which is about 1/2 cup. Thanks for alerting us!


about 2 years ago

Are these quantities for real? 200g of garlic? That’s almost as much garlic as celery.


about 3 years ago

This was unbelievably good! I had Rancho Gordo yellow eye beans to start with (that was my basis for searching for this recipe). I cooked them ahead by baking for 90 minutes in the oven, so they were very tender and creamy. I pretty much followed the recipe as-is, but as the pot was already full with the leeks, celery, carrots and kale, I toasted the garlic, peppers, rosemary and tomato paste in a separate pan so they’d be sure to contact the oil.

Let's stay in touch

Subscribe to the Edible LA e-newsletter for updates on local food issues, events, seasonal recipes, and special issue sneak peeks.

We respect your privacy