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Sep 24, 2007 08:28 AM

fresh lima beans.....

....I don't even like lima beans, but ate at a good ole home cookin' kinda place on Saturday, and they had lima bean soup, and, to my surprise, it was great.

So, I bought fresh, shelled lima beans at my farmers' market on Sunday. Now, I just need to know what to do with them.

I've searched for recipes, but really haven't found what I'm looking for, which is, sort of a down home tomato-based lima bean soup recipe, one that would be hearty enough to support a dumpling or two.

If anyone has a recipe for this, or can direct me to a place that does, I'd really appreciate it.

Many thanks.

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  1. I've gotten to be a big fan of succotash. It's a great combination of flavors for the lima beans. Serve with meatloaf. See pic.
    How about using them for bruschetta?

    1. No recipe for the soup, but the classic Southern way (with maybe a SLIGHT twist that is unusual):

      Chop and completely render bacon. Leave bacon fat and bits in pot. Add water enough to cover, plus about an inch; bring to boil. Add limas and bring back to boil, then cover and medium simmer (gentle but active bubbling all over surface) for about 20 minutes (more or less -- test at 12-15 min.). About half-way through cooking, add some whole milk. When tender, but not mushy, (BEYOND "Al dente" -- these are southern beans, after all!) remove from heat, add a good knob of butter, and salt and pepper. The milk is the twist. But try it with and without. YUM! (Then you drink the "pot liquor" a/k/a "pot likker")

      Have also done the milk thing with fresh boiled corn. Don't recall where this tip came from for bringing out the sweetness!

      3 Replies
      1. re: alkapal

        Thanks for these....great to get such down home recipes (she says, as if she was from the south!)

        1. re: baltoellen

          since my mom taught me to pour my bacon grease into a mug and save after I cook bacon, i'll sometimes just add a spoonfull (gross but yummy) into the water as i cook mine. or butter. seems to make them better if it's in the water as they cook not just added after. a cheap/easy version of the above. my kids love limas and i hated them but totally learned to love them as an adult cooking them this way and eating better versions of them!

          1. re: AMFM

            Yep, my mom to this day has her bacon drippings dish by the stove. Very handy, indeed!

      2. How much do they cost where you are at? (And your general location is....? ) They are pricey -- but sooo good here in DC/NOVA area -- where they are brought in from the Eastern Shore farming areas.

        3 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          I'm in Baltimore, so, as far as I know, they could be from the Eastern Shore. I think they cost $2.50/lb. I don't know anything about beans, so I don't know if that's expensive! ;-)

          1. re: baltoellen

            obviously not fresh but fesh market has a frozen brand called fresh harvest (i think) that are the BEST frozen limas ever. really.

            1. re: AMFM

              Fresh beans freeze beautifully. One of the veggies that does and they're well worth stocking up for winter if you can get them and have freezer space. No prep needed. Just pop them into ziplocks, squeeze out the air, and freeze. Cook as you would if they had just come from the farmers' market.

        2. I would think a tomato-based lima bean soup would be best made with dried beans, rather than fresh.
          The thing that makes fresh lima beans so special IMO, is just that -- their freshness. And I like to emphasize that by just barely blanching the beans and serving them with freshly cooked corn stripped from the cob and fresh cherry or grape tomatoes. Toss the whole bunch in oil, some red wine vinegar and seasonings (basil would be nice). I'm not usually a succotash fan, but fresh lima bean succotash with fresh corn is amazing (add a little sweet red pepper for extra taste).
          It just seems to me that if you're going to cook lima beans for any length of time, it's best to just stick with dried or frozen. But with fresh, emphasize the freshness.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Fuser

            Fuser, how long do you blanch the fresh limas? Dried are a whole different story -- flavor and texture -- than fresh/fresh-frozen. Your blanching concept would seem to give the fresh limas a texture like edamames. Certainly firmer than al dente. IMHO, limas are sweeter if they are cooked to a bit softer stage than al dente -- as I emphasized, NOT mushy by any means. BTW, we need to develop a scale for identifying firmness of cooked beans. Anyone?

            1. re: alkapal

              When I blanche my lima beans, I put them in boiling water for about 3 minutes max. Then when I'm making my succotash, I saute everything (corn, beans and red peppers) quickly in some olive oil. I find the flavor and the texture to be great when done this way.

            2. re: Fuser

              Many thanks for this! This is my first foray into the world of lima beans, fresh or otherwise. I guess the succotash idea, as mentioned earlier and by you, is coming up as the winner!

              1. re: baltoellen

                I too think that fresh limas are too good to stick in a pot of soup! Use dried green ones (Camellia brand, if you can find 'em). Succotash is good, as is a simple braise with bacon & onion, but here in cajunland, we know that everything is better with a roux. Make a thick roux: 3/4 cup flour to 1/2 cup bacon grease or oil of your choice....heat the oil first in a heavy pot over medium heat, whisk in the flour. Switch to a spatula and keep stirring gently until the roux is the color of peanut butter (or a new penny). Once it reaches the color you like, carefully add in a finely chopped onion, two minced cloves of garlic, and stir to coat all well with the roux. Turn the heat down a little, cook until the onion gets soft, then add the limas and enough water to cover. Cook partially covered until the limas are tender (20 minutes? depends on the age of the limas), adding a little more water if needed. Voila...a side-dish fit for a king. Or, if you want, slice up a little smoked sausage & toss it in with the beans, and serve the results over rice for a main dish.

                Baby green limas in a roux are first-cousin to "roux-peas"--tiny petit pois cooked the same way...

              2. re: Fuser

                Fresh limas (or ones I pull out of the freezer - they freeze like a dream!) are a great addition to soups. You're right that you can't cook them for a long time and it's silly to waste them for a long-cooked bean soup. I think bean soups are a cold weather thing. Enjoy Summer while it's here!
                My summer soups are quick soups, rarely taking more than 1/2 hour. I keep stock in the freezer and use fresh veggies. I add limas near the end of cooking since they only require a few minutes, almost just to warm through, although some people like them softer.
                One of our faves is a simple soup that uses the same veggies that you mention above for succotash. A simple mirepoix, chicken stock, corn, limas, tomatoes. Less than 1/2 hour with the veggies added after the stock has simmered for awhile so that they stay very fresh tasting.

              3. Not the soup recipe you asked for but I've been getting fabulous fresh limas here in connecticut and found a receipe somewhere for roasted lima beans. Very simple, cook them tender in water, then mix them with a good amount of olive oil, salt, cayenne and lime juice, roast in hot oven til lightly browned. Not only were they good hot, I couldn't stop eating them all up the next day cold from the fridge.

                5 Replies
                1. re: ElsieB

                  Thanks again! So many choices! I did stop at a farm stand yesterday for some fresh corn for succotash, which I planned to make tonight.....but, will refer to this thread for as long as I can get fresh limas!

                  While all the recipes sound fantastic, it's the ones marked 'simple' that are really grabbing my attention!

                  1. re: baltoellen

                    Who knew?
                    So, last night I made both succotash AND the roasted limas. Both were great, and I found myself, like ElsieB, unable to stop eating them.

                    Who knew limas could be so delish? I'll get more Sunday at the farmers' market, and try some of the other recipes.

                    Thanks to all!

                  2. re: ElsieB

                    How long did you cook in water (approximately)? About how long did you roast them and at what temperature?

                    1. re: gsElsbeth

                      I tried the three minute thing, and it was way to short. I'm thinking at least 10 minutes.

                      I roasted at 350 for maybe 15 minutes....but I would defer to ElsieB for advice on that one!

                    2. re: ElsieB


                      I thought they required a warmer climate : I’ve never seen them fresh in Montréal at the Jean-Talon Market. But if you can get them in Connecticut we should be able to grow them here !

                      I’ve made very nice curry dishes for vegetarian friends ; they are a natural for that seasoning (not necessarily hot or spicy). They do seem to be a very digestable legume, which is precious.