My dear readers, it is certainly HOT all over this wonderful country of ours isn’t it?
Whew! Thank goodness, we have air conditioning which is certainly a life saver when cooking in the kitchen….and I have been cooking in the kitchen today.
The Captain is flying home today and I always try to have a good home cooked meal waiting for him and today I decided to use some of the Farmer’s Market fresh Lima Beans but you could just as easily use the frozen lima beans if there are no Farmer’s Markets in your area, or you don’t particularly like to shell peas or beans.
I had to laugh as I remembered my description of a grandma telling stories on the front porch and snapping green beans….it is sorta the same thing when I shelled the baby lima beans today.
But I digress a bit….
It seems like I grew up with a pot of beans simmering on the back of the stove, no matter where I lived.
In the Midwest, it was Navy Beans and Ham.
In the Southwest, it was Pinto Beans and Ham.
In the Northwest, it was Black Beans.
In the Southeast, it is Lima Beans and Ham.
However, all kinds of beans are cooked and eaten in all parts of the country. I especially like a variation of cooked beans,….a sweet and tangy baked bean which originators say came from the Northeast, the Boston area to be precise.
Or the Field Peas or Black-Eyed Peas (which are really not peas, but beans) of the deep South.
First the facts:
- Beans are high in protein and low in fat.
- They are a great source of soluble fiber which helps remove harmful cholesterol from your body before it’s absorbed.
- Incorporating beans into your diet can help lower your cholesterol
- And reduce your risk for heart disease, heart attacks, and breast & prostate cancer.
Ok, now we know beans are good for you but most importantly…they simply taste good and are really easy to prepare, provided you keep an eye on them when they are simmering on the back of the stove.
Yes, they can boil dry…NOT that I have ever let that happen over the years.
OK, yes, I have let that happen a time or two because it is very easy to do if you don’t keep an eye on “the beans”.
You can use a pressure cooker which will assure that your beans don’t boil dry, that is if you follow the directions correctly.
And you can use a slow cooker or crock pot to cook your beans, another easy and sure fire way they won’t boil dry.
However, I prefer to use the old fashioned method of simmering on the back of my stove.
I know, I like to live dangerously! 😉
And if you pair your beans with either home made dinner rolls or cornbread…..I mean to tell you…it doesn’t get any better than this.
Simple, cheap and easy to prepare meal that can last for up to two meals, which like most chilli, soups and stews seem to taste even better the next day.
Or if you have leftover Lima beans….you can make a succotash which would be adding corn, carrots and whatever veggies you have hanging around your kitchen. Simple and delish side dish.
Plain comfort cooking at it’s best.
The recipe below is for green Lima beans. Some call them white butter beans….you can use either in this recipe but I like the green creamy texture of green baby lima beans.
I use onion and ham hocks for flavoring my lima beans, but you can use ham or a ham bone with bits of meat. I really don’t like to spare the ham flavoring so I sometimes add more ham than my ham hocks provide.
When cooked, I also like to remove the bone and pick off the meat so the bones don’t take up so much space in the beans. But the bones are definite flavoring you don’t want to leave out. And you will note that I also add some bacon fat for a little additional flavoring. You can leave that out of your lima beans, but why would you want to not have that extra little “sumpton sumpton” to make your beans taste even better?
Have a Blessed and Glorious Day!
- 2 smoked ham hocks (or you can use leftover ham)
- 2 quarts water
- 6 cups thawed from frozen baby lima beans (or if shelling fresh, about 2 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon or base (I use Better than Bouillon, it is always in my fridge)
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- Pinch sugar
- 1/4 cup country ham or baked ham, torn or chopped, (for additional meat in your beans, if desired)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon of butter or bacon fat (I use bacon fat)
- Fill pot with water and add ham hocks. Bring to a boil, reduce to a medium boil and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Reserve water, skimming off any accumulated foam. Add beans, chicken base/bouillon, onion, sugar and additional ham, bringing water back up to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook, partially covered for 30 to 45 minutes, or longer, until beans are tender and creamy. Remove hock, pick off any meat and add to pot, along with butter or bacon fat. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
- Substitute homemade or commercial chicken broth for the water and base, if desired.