Thursday, December 1, 2011

Say "Yes" to Lima Beans!

My grandmother Nora was a great Southern cook. Traditionally she cooked with the "bad boy" ingredients: bacon grease, lard, butter and lots and lots of sugar, so her meals were mighty comforting and mighty tasty. She seemed to delight in cooking for a crew, the larger the better.  Every year she made vats of holiday fruit cake batter that turned into amazing cakes (which she soaked in whiskey until they were illegal!) and distributed to eager family members. She also made her own egg noodles (a lost art, it seems). I loved visiting her and finding egg noodles, drying, draped all over the dinning room chairs as this meant a family dinner of stewed chicken with homemade noodles and mashed potatoes was in my future! Cholesterol levels aside, when I am feeling cold and grumpy, missing my family and in dire need of comfort food I generally look to her soothing combination "'taters, chicken and noodles". This week I was looking for the comfort but needed a shortcut. After traveling and working over Thanksgiving I returned home with no leftover turkey and a bad case of the post holiday blues, so I pulled together this little dish I am calling, "Nora's Comfort in a Crockpot". So easy and if you love lima beans (I know, but these are SO much better than you can imagine) you will love, love this dish.

Nora's Comfort in a Crockpot
2 cups dried GIANT lima beans (or butter beans), soaked over night (look for them in the bulk section of your store)
2 cups cooked ham, diced (I used leftover spiral-cut sugar cured ham)
Enough water to cover the beans and ham
1 Tbs concentrated chicken bouillon ( I use organic brand, "Better Than Bouillon" chicken base)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 dried bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley
A big pot of mashed potatoes! ((I left the skins on my organic russets)

Soak bean overnight in a large bowl, use twice as much water as beans, in the
morning, drain and add to crock pot with diced ham, chicken bouillon, garlic and bay leaf. 
Add enough fresh water to cover the beans and ham, cover.
Cook on high for 1 hour, stir and turn temperature to low, cook for approximately
10 hours. Stir occasionally so beans cook evenly and bullion mixes well.
Serve over mashed potatoes, sprinkle a bit of parsley for color.
Add salt and pepper to taste after cooking.
I promise, your house will smell divine, your spouse will think you are brilliant and this dish will soothe the soul. If you don't already love lima beans you will, as this slow cooking renders them buttery and sweet. Comfort indeed!


Maria Rose said...

YUM! I could easily veganize that, probably won't be as rich, but I am sure it would still be good. I love that you serve it with mashed potatoes, they make everything awesome!

Victoria said...

Oh, I am certain you could! Maybe a few more herbs and a bit more garlic or a diced onion for a fuller flavor. The cockpot makes it so nice to have a no-fuss evening.

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