|Baby lima beans, stewed down to creamy perfection and seasoned nicely with bacon and ham, are as at home as a side dish as they are a main dish, when paired up with a nice garden salad, cornbread and iced tea.|
Stewed Baby Butter BeansI mostly prepare frozen baby lima beans as a side to be honest, like in succotash, but we don't eat them as often as I like, because they require some advance planning for cooking, and unfortunately I tend to forget about them! Unlike my beloved butter beans, it's a rare occasion where I make them from fresh or dried, but I don't know why, because they are just so much more delicious and worth the effort.
This is a pretty standard formula for beans down this way, basic and simple. Beans are simply stewed down and seasoned with a bit of pork, here both ham and bacon, a little onion, garlic and maybe some jalapeno, a few simple seasonings... and a little time.
You'll notice that most of my recipes that call for jalapenos, call for chopped, sliced pickled jalapenos, frankly because that is what I always have on hand in my fridge. My favorite is the Mezzetta brand of tamed pickled jalapeno shown below, because they have a nice kick without being too fiery. They're also available as whole jalapenos, and you can find them pretty much anywhere - I buy them right at Walmart or my local grocery store.
You can, of course, certainly use fresh, raw jalapenos instead, but keep in mind that peppers can vary widely in heat level. Always taste them before you add them to your recipes so you'll know how much to use.
As far as dried beans go, Camellia brand has always been my pantry staple and, since we tend to eat beans regularly, I usually have a half dozen varieties on hand at any given time. Those of you living in this part of The Deep South probably know exactly what I mean about Camellia, but if you happen to now be displaced from here, or can't find your favorites in your own local market, did you know that you can actually order them online? Sure can! It's not a bad deal with shipping if you buy in quantity and you miss things like lady cream peas.
Now, let's go make some baby lima beans.
Rinse and sort beans, soak overnight or use the speed cook method (cover with water plus 2 inches, bring to boil, boil for 5 minutes, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour); drain.
Saute the bacon with the ham in the bottom of a cast iron Dutch oven or soup pot, over medium high heat, for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the onion and jalapeno and cook another 3 minutes or until onion is softened. Add the garlic; cook another minute.
See all that lovely brown stuff in the bottom of the pot? That's the fond.
Deglaze the pot by adding in just a splash of the water.
Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the fond from the bottom. That's added flavor y'all!
Add the remaining water and bring to a boil. Add the beans and bay leaves, reduce heat, cover partially and low simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender and creamy, adding additional water only as needed, to keep the beans covered by about 1/2 inch.
Remove bay leaves and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and hot sauce; taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve as a side dish vegetable, or over rice as a main dish, along with a mixed garden salad and some southern cornbread.
Adapted from Real Cajun
Recipe: Stewed Baby Butter Beans©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 45 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings
- 1 pound dried, green baby lima beans
- 6 slices of thick cut bacon, sliced
- 2 cups of diced, cooked ham
- 1/2 cup of chopped onion
- 1/8 cup of sliced pickled jalapenos, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 medium sized bay leaves
- 6 cups of water, chicken broth or a combination
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Couple of dashes of hot pepper sauce
Soak beans overnight and drain. Saute the bacon with the ham in the bottom of a cast iron Dutch oven or soup pot, over medium high heat, for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook another 3 minutes or until onion is softened. Add the garlic; cook another minute. Deglaze the pot with a splash of the water, scraping up all of the browned bits on the bottom. Add the remaining water and bring to a boil. Add the beans and bay leaves, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover partially and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender and creamy, adding additional water only as needed to keep the beans covered by about 1/2 inch.
Remove bay leaves and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and hot sauce; taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve as a side dish, or over rice as a main dish, along with a mixed garden salad and some southern cornbread.
Cook's Notes As with most all beans, the time they take to cook will be dependent on how fresh or old the beans are. Fresh beans will cook much quicker than beans that have been hanging around your pantry or the store shelves awhile.
Crockpot: Prepare as above. Transfer to a slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 6 to 8 hours, or low for 11 to 12 hours, stirring at 8 if possible.
Quick Boil Method: Rinse and sort beans and place into a deep pot, adding water to cover beans plus two inches. Do not add any seasonings or salt! Bring to a boil; boil for 5 minutes uncovered, turn off heat, cover and let soak for one hour. Drain and set aside.
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