Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Butter Beans

I recently got a craving for butter beans that I had growing up. My Texan dad would slow cook them all day and the smell alone is enough to make your mouth water. I was really excited to try them out for the first time yesterday and they were so good I ate lunch today at 11am because I couldn't stop thinking about the leftovers. Making your own stock is a key step and cannot be skipped. Try them out- you won't be sorry!

1 bag large lima beans
a few celery ribs
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
whole peppercorns
ham hock (I got mine from double d meats)
1/2 onion, diced
1T veggie oil
1T butter
2T flour
1/2 cup diced ham (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Make a stock by covering a smoked ham hock or two with water in a large pot: simmer the hocks with a quartered onion, some celery ribs, a few cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and some whole peppercorns for about 1.5 hours. Strain and reserve the stock (throw everything else away).

Clean the beans (large limas). In a pot, sauté some diced onion in a mixture of vegetable oil and butter until soft, then add flour in a proportion equal to the amount of oil/butter you cooked the onion in. Cook the flour for a few minutes, stirring and making sure it doesn’t burn. Add the beans and stock and stir thoroughly. Season with black pepper. Bring to a low boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are getting tender (for me it was 1.5 hours). Remove cover, add salt to taste and continue cooking slowly until beans are tender and the liquid has reduced to desired thickness (about 20min). Then I added in diced ham for more flavor.

Serve with skillet cornbread and salad.

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