How to Make Thanksgiving Lima Beans You Will Really Love

Green beans are the most popular holiday beans, but I suspect that’s because we choke them in creamy soups and fried onions. I have eaten and enjoyed many green bean casseroles, but my favorite beans on the holiday table are the lima beans (also known as butter beans).

Lima beans polarize. My mother, who loves all edible plants except celery, hates them (because she is wrong), but she is the only family member who opposes Lima. Everyone else is enthusiastic because we have taste . When cooked correctly, they have a velvety, almost creamy consistency and a savory nutty flavor. However, undercooked Lima beans are terrible. They are powdery, almost chalky, and not at all fun to eat. From what I’ve been served in many restaurants, I think the vast majority of lima bean haters have never eaten fully cooked beans (other than my mother – she really hates them, no matter how cooked they are).

Lima beans are not flashy. They don’t need bells and whistles (or onion soup). If stewed long enough, the liqueur will become thick and creamy due to its high starch content. They are warm, soothing, and extremely satisfying, making them a fantastic addition to the Thanksgiving table if vegetarians or vegans are present (or if you’re trying to consume less meat ).

When to soak beans

Cooking beans is easy. Rinse them, cover with water and simmer until soft. This is really the whole process. Soaking them in water the night before will shorten the cooking time (and maybe gas ??), but it’s really only necessary with old beans, which will take forever if you choose the boil-only route. Start with lima beans that have been purchased for a year or so and soak them overnight to get your beans cooked as quickly as possible, but I always start them an hour earlier than I need to, as they can be unpredictable. If you’re worried that they’ll have time to serve the turkey, you can make limas the day before Thanksgiving. They warm up on the stove, like in a dream.

When to salt lima beans

This topic is widely discussed in the bean industry. Some only salted at the end, believing that salting in the beginning would prevent the beans from softening, but the bean lovers at Epicurious found that early salting actually resulted in more tender beans. I’ve always seasoned the beans early because they absorb liquid during cooking and I want them to absorb the flavorful liquid. Plus I have a southern habit of throwing the ham into the pot, so there is already quite a bit of salt in there, even if I don’t add the sodium chloride crystals.

How to make lima beans special

Any lima beans can be delicious, but on special occasions special beans are needed. Finally, over the years, I succumbed to peer pressure and ordered a Christmas Limas at Rancho Gordo (beans that followed a cult following). They are huge, visually stunning, and have a wonderful chestnut flavor that is slightly softer than other lemons. I also really like the Camellia Lima beans, which have a rich, oily flavor and a velvety texture. If you want the beans to keep their shape, use the beans – they don’t stretch like the older boys. (I personally like the soft lima though.)

Even if you grab a bag of regular lemons from a major chain grocery store, you can easily add the delicious flavor to them, which is the beauty of beans. By cooking them in a flavorful broth or adding ham, smoked turkey wing or Parmesan zest, I add depth and umami, and I usually throw in some kind of onion, like half an onion, a whole shallots, or a bunch of broken chunks. cloves of garlic. I also add a pinch or (seven) salt depending on how flavorful my broth is, or if I’m using a ham. I also like bay leaves.

How to cook lima beans

As I mentioned earlier, this is not difficult. You will need:

  • Beans
  • Water or inventory
  • Salt
  • Add-ons such as ham, halves and onions, halved shallots, crushed garlic cloves, smoked turkey wing, parmesan zest, bay leaf, or any other herbs you like.

Rinse the beans with cold water and remove any shriveled specimens as well as anything other than beans. If you purchased your beans more than a year ago, but no later than a few months ago, soak them for a couple of hours. If you can’t remember when you bought them, soak them overnight. Want to cook beans this week but don’t know what day? Now start soaking them and refrigerate until you choose your bean night (bean night). If you want to serve Lima beans for Thanksgiving (and you should), buy fresh, trendy beans, or start soaking old beans the day before. The beans you just buy don’t “need” soaking, but soaking will shorten cooking time by at least half an hour, if not more.

Add the beans and soak water to the pot along with the hocks, rind, onions and / or leaves. Add more water or broth until covered with at least two inches of liquid. This is especially important for large limas that absorb tons of liquid while cooking. If you’re using plain water or plain broth, add a teaspoon of salt for every pound of beans. Bring the beans to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover, leaving the lid slightly open to allow some evaporation. Add hot water if the beans begin to protrude – preferably immediately after boiling in a kettle.

Simmer until soft and creamy, but not mushy. Try the infusion and try biting off the beans after an hour or so, seasoning with salt if necessary. If you cut the beans and see a lighter white strip or strip in the center, the beans are not ready yet. It’s okay if some of them start stewing – it’s much better to eat a few soft beans than a bunch of undercooked beans. (I cooked Christmas lims last night – no presoaking – and they were done in two hours.)

Serve when the beans are soft and velvety. They don’t need anything but fresh peppers, but some green onions would be a good idea. Heck, you can even try fried onions. After all, it’s Thanksgiving and I don’t understand why green beans should be getting all the fun.


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