Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lima Bean

I have always been very perplexed by the negative attention certain beans get. One in particular was much maligned when I was a child at the dinner table – the lima bean. Personally, I rather enjoyed this grassy tasting, smooth bean. Perhaps, it was due in part that they were frozen and not canned like the peas and carrots that frequently soiled my dinner plate. Granted the application was never too sophisticate just simply boiled and tossed with some butter. But they had texture and character.

This vegetable of South America takes is name from the capitol of Peru, Lima, were the Europeans first started its export to the Eastern Hemisphere. In the southeast of the United States you will a host of close relatives referred as butter beans – they are a smaller variety of the lima. As I do with fava beans I always give a quick feel of the shell to make sure there are 3 to 5 beans in each pod. You will lose about 20 plus percentage to the discard to the shell so I want to make sure that very lima bean is as packed as it can be.

Succotash – serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion – diced
4 garlic cloves – diced
1/2-pound Yukon gold potatoes – scrubbed and diced 1/2-inch
3 ears corn – kernels removed from the cob
1-pound fresh lima beans – beans removed from their shell
1-pound ripe tomato – diced
1-teaspoon fresh summer savory or thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat a 3-quart pot over a medium heat, and add the oil, onions and garlic. Cook the onion mixture until they are translucent, and then add the potatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the corn, lima beans, tomato and savory plus 1/2 cup of water. Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the succotash, with a lid slightly askew, for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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