The Much Maligned Lima Bean

Baked Lima Beans
Baked Lima Beans

Have you noticed that there are certain foods that people either love or hate? There is no grey area in their regard. Think of-mushrooms, black licorice, liver, Brussels sprouts, or stinky cheese. Lima beans fall in that category. My daughters and I LOVE Limas, the girls have since they were tiny gourmets and they carefully picked steamed baby Lima beans  off of their high chair trays. Today I am going to talk about dried Lima beans and share the Piper’s paternal Grandmother’s recipe for Barbecued Limas. I will admit that Grandma did not stint on the bacon, she covered the entire casserole with slices of bacon, I choose to chop a smaller amount and incorporate it into the beans.The picture above was taken before the casserole was baked.

Barbequed Lima Bean

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried baby Lima beans (prefer organic)
  • Ketchup to taste
  • Dried Mustard to taste
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 1/3 lb Bacon, diced
  • Brown Sugar to taste
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Molasses (if you want a real country kick)

Instructions

  1. Pick over,wash and soak the Limas over night. Next morning simmer the beans gently for an hour or until they are soft-though slightly under cooked. Saute the chopped bacon, remove the bits and saute the onions in the bacon grease-drain off however much grease your good sense tells you to. (None in my case-it's a COUNTRY recipe, after all.)
  2. Pour the beans, a cup or so of the cooking water, the onions and the bacon into a nice baking dish. Add a cup or so of ketchup, the dried mustard (don't be stingy with the mustard-I use 3T+), and a bit of brown sugar. If your choice of ketchup is very sweet-use less brown sugar. Be careful with the salt-you have salt in your bacon and the ketchup, but be generous with the black pepper. (You could just pour a bottle of commercial barbecue sauce over the beans and forget the ketchup mixture.) And to finish everything off-drizzle Black Strap Molasses sparingly across the top of the casserole. The molasses, besides imparting a down home taste, will create a caramelized black crust that we all fight over.
  3. Pop in the oven for 1 1/2 or 2 hours-or until the beans are soft and the sauce thick. If your beans seem dry at any time during baking, add back some of the cooking water and stir. Serve with greens and bread.
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So this was our supper that night-Barbecued Lima Beans, a salad of baby kale and spinach and a lovely Parkerhouse Roll from the local bakery. Simple, filling and pretty good for you too.  One could argue that bacon is not “good for you”, but remember that it is a small amount of bacon per serving and it is offset by how good the Lima Beans and the salad are for you. It is all about choices-

Out Here in the Pasture.

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