Monday, December 21, 2009

Butter Beans

Lima bean? Butter bean? What's the difference?

Well I'll tell you... Nothing!

There are two types of lima beans. The larger ones are called lima beans or Fordhooks, I saw both names at my local grocery store. The smaller ones are also called lima beans, or sometimes baby lima beans or green lima beans.

A butter bean is a lima bean that has been prepared a certain way. In the South, though, a lot of people refer to lima beans as butter beans, hence the wide-spread confusion and debate.

For this particular recipe I bought dried Fordhooks to use, but also picked up a frozen bag of baby lima beans just in case.

I'm going to post this recipe as-is (for now), but keep in mind that this was both mine and Johnny's least favorite part of the big Southern meal (chicken fried steak, buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy). They weren't bad, just need some tweaking, which I plan on trying in the future with the frozen beans to see if that makes a difference.

1 lb. bag of dried beans (or frozen)
2 tsp Kosher salt
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup cream

If using dried beans, rinse under cold water and then put in a bowl full of water to soak for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Don't be like me - put your beans in a big enough bowl from the beginning! They will absorb a lot of water and double in size. (Luckily I came down for a midnight snack and changed to a bigger bowl in time!)

Drain the beans in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Put in a large pot, cover with water, add the salt, and boil for about an hour. Keep a close watch on this! I had to play with the temperature a lot at the beginning because it boiled over and kept creeping up the pot to do it again!

After an hour I had an odd mixture of really mushy ones and some pretty firm ones, despite stirring frequently. This is where I think it might be better to go with frozen (or fresh if you're lucky enough to find!) Put in a medium pot with the butter and cream. Bring to a simmer and let them cook another 10-15 minutes until the butter is melted and the cream reduces some to coat the beans.

Serve with a slotted spoon and sprinkle with black pepper!

I'll let you guys know what I think when I try them with the frozen baby limas. Of course, it could just be Sophia's reasoning - that everything else on the plate was TOO darn good, the beans didn't stand a chance!

Head back here tomorrow for the unveiling of my Green White Elephant Blogger Gift Exchange recipient, benefactor, and what my box contained!


Allie (Live Laugh Eat) said...

I always shy away from dried beans because I have the patience of a 5 year old and soaking takes so long. I love that reaaal buttah on those beans though. I think I'm going to venture into dried beans one day in honor of you.

A@ Please Don't Eat Me! said...

oh butter!!!!!! dang those look sinfully so good!
nicely done woman!

Anonymous said...

I still stand by my reasoning. :-)
I always use dried beans! They're so much cheaper, though you really have to plain ahead with the soaking and stuff...I'm glad you did it the old-fashioned way, and it really looks amazing! Ooooh butter!

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

If you don't like Lima Beans, I have found that edamame is the perfect taste between a lima bean and a pea.

My kids hate lima beans, but LOVE edamame!