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Friday, March 28, 2008

I Loves Me Some Lima Beans!

There it sat. That lonely bag of dried lima beans; taunting me from the pantry. “Do right by me” they said. Well, I DID have all that leftover ham in the freezer, and I did have a pressure cooker after all, so I gave those purty little beans a welcome fit for a king.

I don’t know why I don’t cook dried lima beans more often. Oh yes I do; they’re a pain to cook when dried. All that soaking and simmering. Sometimes a girl has just gotta have it now! And when they’re perfect, they’re like plump little potatoes. Each bite is tender-soft, yet firm and full of flavor. Lima beans have personality.

The trick with any dried bean is to not overcook them or add too much salt and/or acidity. One technique causes the beans to split and turn into a mushy mess, and the other causes them to toughen (in my opinion). Some say it’s fine to add salt in the beginning, some say after the beans are done. I prefer to add afterwards, as it gives me more control over the entire saltiness factor. I was always taught to salt any dish after it’s done, never in the beginning or during the cooking process, as liquids condense and that can increase the salt levels. There’s nothing worse than an overly salty pot of beans. Adding any kind of acidic ingredient, such as tomatoes, should also be added at the end of cooking, as the acidity causes the beans to stop cooking. And then you’re stuck with an overly salty, tough pot of beans!

For my little darlings, I chopped up about 2 cups of precooked ham, 1 onion, 2 stalks of celery, 3 cloves of garlic. I sautéed the ham a little in my pressure cooker, added the vegetables and sautéed till soft. I added 4 cups of chicken broth, 4 cups of water, about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (This is important! Dried beans cooked without oil will cause a lot of foaming, which is a BAD thing for pressure cookers), and finally some general seasoning. Bring up to pressure, and cook for about 30 minutes, then depressurize naturally.

At the end, a few sprinkles of kosher or sea salt, and smack my booty. DAYYUM!

3 comments:

OhioMom said...

One of my all time favorite beans, hmmmmmm I also have some left over ham in the freezer from the holidays, and sitting there in the pantry is a bag of lima beans :) along with some cornbread ... oh yum!

Just the Right Size said...

Ohiomom, this was SO good, I went back and bought another bag-o-beans!

Yum!

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