Butter beans or Lima beans as they’re known in certain parts are one of the worlds healthiest foods. They are a stape crop in Africa and Peru (particularly in the city of Lima after which they’re name. When cooked properly, they are smooth and delicious, yet they have a reputation worse than brussel sprouts.
As a kid, especially during the Fall we ate butter beans regularly. More often or not they were cooked with smokey bacon or ham. Ms. Washington’s BBQ Restaurant in my neighborhood always made their butter beans with smoked neckbones. I was as fond on Ms. Washington’s version as I was my MaDear’s. Most versions I’ve had throughout the South have been made similarly. Likewise most Southern recipes call for dried butter beans that are cooked long and slow netting rich and creamy beans.
Vegan Butter Beans Recipe
- 1 ½ pound dried lima "butter" beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 2 medium onions finely diced
- 1 large rib celery finely diced
- 2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried herbs mix oregano thyme, and basil
- Green onions
- Cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 large onion quartered
- 4 carrots peeled and cut in 1/2
- 4 ribs celery cut in 1/2
- 1 ear of corn cut into quarters
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 sprigs fresh parsley with stems
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 to 10 peppercorns
- 2 whole cloves garlic peeled
- 1 gallon cold water
- 2 dried morita or chipotle chiles
In a large bowl, cover beans in water and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Water should cover beans by at least an inch.)
In a large pot heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, celery, and garlic until tender.
Add the paprika, cayenne, herbs, salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes then add the red beans, vegetable stock and bay leaves.
Let simmer uncovered on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stirring occasionally and adding water, if necessary.
Vegetable Stock Instructions
Put water in large stockpot. Place vegetables, herbs and spices in a steamer basket directly in the water filled stockpot. Cook on high heat until you begin to see bubbles break through the surface of the liquid. Turn heat down to medium low so that stock maintains low, gentle simmer.
Add chiles and let simmer in the pot for 20-30 minutes. Check frequently to make sure chiles don’t breakdown and release seeds into the stock. Remove peppers and discard them.
Simmer uncovered for 1-2 hours. Add hot water as needed to keep vegetables submerged. Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot or heatproof container discarding the solids. Cool immediately and place in refrigerator overnight