Better Butterbeans

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Better Butterbeans

Baby lima beans or “butterbeans” named thus as a result of their starchy yet buttery texture, Lima beans have a delicate flavor that complements a wide variety of dishes.

Lima beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other legumes. In addition to lowering cholesterol, lima beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, lima beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein.

Basic Butterbeans

2 pounds baby lima beans, fresh in the shell
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

Shell the beans and wash thoroughly. Put 2 cups water and the salt in a medium saucepan and add the beans. Cook the beans until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the liquid and add the butter. Sprinkle lightly with the black pepper before serving. Serves 3.
Farmers Market Succotash

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

Coarse kosher salt

1 large garlic clove, minced

3 cups chopped red tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

2 1/4 cups corn kernels cut from 4 ears of corn (preferably 2 ears of white corn and 2 ears of yellow corn)

2 cups fresh lima beans

3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sprinkle with coarse salt. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, corn, and lima beans. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until corn and lima beans are tender and tomatoes are soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before continuing. Stir in basil and serve. Serves 6.

Butterbean Hummus

1 pound large dried lima beans
3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup tahini
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 to 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Pick through and wash the lima beans. Put them into a heavy pot and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then simmer, partially covered, until they are very tender but not mushy. Remove from the heat and drain, reserving the cooking liquid.

To the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steal blade, add the drained beans, garlic, tahini, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Puree this mixture, and with the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and lemon juice.

If the puree is too thick, pour in a little of the reserved cooking liquid until the puree is silky smooth in appearance and on the tongue. Taste carefully for seasoning and add more salt and cayenne, if desired. Yields 3 1/3 cups.

Fresh Butterbeans and Shrimp

2 pounds fresh peeled shrimp

Old Bay seasoning to taste

2 pounds fresh butterbeans/lima beans

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 bell pepper, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons (1/4 cup) flour

Rice for serving

Hot sauce

Cover shrimp with water in a large saucepan. Add shrimp boil. Bring to a rolling boil and cook 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Let shrimp sit in liquid until they are pink and mostly opaque, at least 15 minutes. Set a large sieve over a big bowl and drain shrimp, saving the shrimp stock.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter and sauté onion, bell pepper and celery until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add butter beans and enough of the shrimp stock to just cover them. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to simmer. Cover but leave the lid ajar. Cook 15 minutes. Add shrimp. Stir well. Cook 5 minutes.

In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with olive oil. Add flour and stir well to make a white sauce/roux. Cook just until the mixture starts to brown, stirring occasionally.

Stir into the simmering bean and shrimp mixture. Taste for seasoning. Cook over low heat another 5 minutes, then serve warm over rice.

Butterbeans and Tomatoes

3 cups canned butter beans

1 large onion,chopped

1 carrot, chopped finely

1-2 garlic cloves, minced (or as per taste)

About 1/2 tsp dried oregano and thyme (or use double of the fresh herbs)

2 large tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato paste

Pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

Few sprigs of cilantro to garnish

In a skillet add about 1 tsp oil and sauté the onions and garlic with salt. When slightly soft, add the carrots. Chopping them small helps to cook it faster. Add the tomatoes, the dried herbs and the tomato paste. Add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup water and cook it in high heat. We want the tomatoes to get mushy and well cooked without any raw smell. In fact it gets aromatic with the herbs – esp. Oregano. When most of the water has been absorbed, add the beans. Make sure to rinse the canned beans in cold water first.

Add the sugar (or more if required). The sugar is to balance any tart/sour taste from the tomatoes and cutting down the acidity. Add the cilantro and give it a toss until well stirred with the tomato mixture. Make sure to be gentle since the beans can disintegrate. Serve hot.

Written By

Photo of Tammy Kelly, Ed. DTammy Kelly, Ed. DCounty Extension Director (252) 527-2191 tammy_kelly@ncsu.eduLenoir County, North Carolina
Posted on Sep 4, 2014
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