Southern Culinary Arts: Dried Lima Beans and Ham
Welcome to my online cooking school. Today we'll be preparing a favorite of Southern culinary arts, dried beans and ham. But first, a little story about this Southern food.
My dad owned a grocery store and a gun shop, and sometimes when I was a kid, I’d help him in the grocery store. My job was to stack the groceries on the shelves. One day while I was putting some bags of dried beans out, I asked why Mom never cooked these. He explained to me that only poor people ate them – the ones who couldn’t afford meat. I accepted that explanation, and we never ate dried beans or peas in our house.
When I grew up, of course, I realized that lots of people ate dried beans because they liked them – including folks who could easily afford meat. Surprisingly, my ex-husband held the same attitude my father had toward the dried legumes, however, so I never cooked them. When I married my present husband, Johnny, however, things changed.
Dried beans and other legumes are good for you! Just one serving of dried lima beans has a whopping 9 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, and 15% of your daily iron requirement. All this for 120 calories – without the ham, of course. If you want to make this extra healthy, you can add ham flavoring instead of the real thing.
Johnny loves a big pot of lima beans or pinto beans. Of course, to keep him happy, I had to learn to cook these suckers. I did, but I never cultivated a taste for the pinto beans. I’ll eat them, but they’re far down on my list of favorite foods – right above sauerkraut. I like the dried lima beans better, and in fact, I’m cooking a pot of them as I type. Here’s my recipe, just for my online cooking school students:
What you’ll need:
One 20-ounce package large lima beans
Diced onion, to taste
Chunks of cured ham
Two cubes chicken bouillon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Wash beans and remove any bad ones. Place beans in a large pot and cover with water. Water should be twice as deep as the beans are in the pot. Place the lid on the pot and allow the beans to soak overnight.
The next morning, turn the beans on high. Add more water. When they start to boil, add the onion, the ham, and the chicken bouillon cubes. Unless you want a very low-fat version of this dish, add some ham that has fat on it. It will give the beans more flavor. Stir frequently. Boil for five minutes, and add the salt and pepper. Stir again.
Place the lid on the pot and let beans simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally. I like to cook my beans for a long time - until the juice is thick.
I’m making a skillet of cornbread and some rice to accompany the beans and ham. We like to spoon the beans over the rice.
This is a great way to use that ham you have left over from Easter or some other holiday! The beans are even better warmed up on the second day, so store leftovers in the refrigerator.
For more about culinary arts, my online cooking school, and my online cooking classes, click the links below!
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