Monday, November 10, 2014

Giant White Lima Beans with Stewed Tomatoes and Oregano Pesto


 
Giant White Lima Beans with Stewed Tomatoes and Oregano Pesto 

Beans are back in rotation here in SoCal since it has finally started to cool down.  I have a few packages of Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans that I put away for the summer, but I decided the other morning to make a bean dish using the Giant White Lima Beans from Rancho Gordo.  Let me first say that growing up my mom served frozen succotash, which I remember as being corn, peas and Lima beans.  The Lima beans were pasty, starchy and disgusting.  I think I probably picked them out and pushed them to the side.  I say this as an insight to my reluctance to prepare and eat the Giant White Lima Beans.  I knew my Tasting Partner would love the beans, and I was already planning on an alternative dinner for me.  Maybe cake.  I found this recipe from Food and Wine and made minor adjustments to it.  With the knowledge that I have been avoiding Lima beans like the plague since I was 10, let me just say that these Lima beans were FANTASTIC!  They were creamy, flavorful and nothing like what I remembered.  My Tasting Partner, as expected, RAVED about this dish, and I have to agree, these are not your Grandmother’s Lima beans.  I added a green salad and we had a lovely dinner.
recipe after the jump

Giant Lima Beans with Stewed Tomatoes and Oregano Pesto

LIMA BEANS
16 ounces dried giant Lima beans, rinsed and picked over, then soaked for 4 hours and drained

Kosher salt
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes—juices reserved, tomatoes coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese (optional, not vegan), for sprinkling

PESTO
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 small garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt

In a large saucepan, cover the Lima beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the Limas are just tender but still al dente, about 2 1/2 hours; add water as needed to keep the limas covered by 2 inches. Season the Limas with salt and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Before draining the Limas, reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid to be added to the tomato sauce.

In a medium saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately low heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato juices, oregano and the reserved bean cooking liquid and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 1 hour. Season the tomato sauce to taste, with salt.

In a mini food processor, combine the olive oil with the oregano, parsley and garlic and pulse to a coarse puree. Season the oregano pesto with salt.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a deep 2 ½ quart casserole dish, mix the limas with the tomato sauce.  Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 30 minutes, until the beans are bubbling.  Remove the baking dish from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.


Top each serving of beans with a dollop with the oregano pesto and feta, if desired and enjoy.  

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