Please, please read this and make this.
I know lima beans aren’t a hot item. I know the recipe is a little fussy- better for a weekend than a weeknight. But you will. not. regret. it.
Here are my talking points:
Many of you are Southerners and need no convincing when it comes to lima beans. Although I’m not native to the South, I am in your camp. I won’t say “y’all” but I love me some limas.
Many of you enjoy French food, and this is a classic gratin. Just saying that word out loud makes me smile. Gratins have texture, character, and let’s face it- the French know what they’re doing when it comes to food. Maybe not when it comes to picking up after their dogs, but mad kitchen skillz? Oui.
Maybe you aren’t Southern and/or dislike French food (why are we friends??), so here’s the silver bullet: two of the major flavors are bacon and parmesan. If that didn’t convince you, then we’re really not friends, and you’re probably one of those Spambots leaving a message for me about CheapPradaBags and recreational drugs from Mexico.
This is not hard to make at ALL, but a 30-minute meal it’s not. The good news is that you can totally break up the steps throughout the day OR prepare part of it the day before. I serve it on the side of something totally not fussy, like grilled steak. Or if meat isn’t your style, you can make this as your main course and serve it with a green salad.
I usually don’t get this worked up about stuff that doesn’t involve chocolate or salted caramel, but I love this dish like non-New Yorkers love to hate the Yankees (that’s a lot). Join me!
- 2 T unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 c frozen baby lima beans
- 2 c low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- ¼ lb thick-cut smoked bacon, diced 'lardon' style (aka matchsticks)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 roasted red peppers, diced (I roast my own, but you could use jarred)
- 1 T chopped parsley
- 1 t chopped thyme
- 1 c freshly grated Parmigiano
- Freshly ground pepper
- 10 basil leaves, roughly torn
- 1 c fresh bread crumbs (try to get a rustic loaf)
- Butter a 9x13" baking dish. Melt 1 T butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook shallot in butter till soft. Add lima beans, stock, bay leaf, and a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for approximately 30 minutes (but check starting at 20 minutes to make sure you're not running out of liquid- trust me on this). Drain, reserving 1 c of the cooking liquid, and discard the bay leaf. Set lima mixture aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the onion and bacon and cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until onion is slightly caramelized. Stir in the garlic, roasted peppers, parsley, thyme and lima beans; remove pot from heat. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid, half the cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the lima bean mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle on the basil, followed by the remaining cheese and the bread crumbs. Dot with the remaining butter and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand for at least 10 minutes, then serve.