I’m on a bean kick, as you may have noticed with the last blogpost. And today, I’ve got a delicious lima bean stew for you. It’s easy to make and has a deep warming flavor from the use of green olives, smoked paprika, red wine, and plenty of garlic. Served with grated parmesan and crusty sourdough bread, it’s a perfect winter meal.
Beans are such a great cold weather food and traditionally, they were a large part of people’s winter diets. Today we often forget beans as an important (and tasty) source of nutrition.
Beans are high in protein and they have been shown in studies to help lower obesity, partly because they are high in fibre. They have also been found to lower the risk of breast cancer and they are a rich source of minerals that we need for good health. They’re also especially high in folate, making them a great food choice for pregnant women as they can help in the prevention of birth defects.
Lima beans have a rich buttery texture, which is why they’re also sometimes called butter beans. They come in varying sizes (all delicious). I love them so much that I sometimes prepare them just for eating on their own. I simply add a little butter, salt, and pepper and I’m good to go. But sometimes, it’s also nice to incorporate them into an actual recipe, and this is one that I absolutely love. I hope you’ll try it and enjoy it too!
Lima Bean Stew with Olives, Tomatoes, and Kale
- 1 cup of dry lima beans (about 3 cups cooked)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup chopped)
- 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled, separated, and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup chopped garlic)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp crushed dry thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 cup green olives
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned or fresh)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 5 to 6 large kale leaves, finely chopped (about 2 cups chopped kale, loosely packed)
- 3 cups of vegetable stock or water (more or less depending on how thick you like your stew)
- To prepare the beans: If you can, soak and prepare dry beans instead of using canned beans for this recipe (I always make more than the recipe calls for, so I can snack on them as well). To prepare the lima beans from scratch, simply place them in a bowl of warm water, making sure the water covers them by at least 2 inches. Leave them to soak for abut 12 to 18 hours, changing the water about halfway through. Once the beans have finished soaking, drain them and rinse them well, then place in them in a medium lidded pot filled with fresh water, covering the beans by at least 2 inches. Do not add any salt to the cooking water or it will toughen the beans as they cook. Bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat down to a low gentle simmer. Depending on the size of the bean, they can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 90 minutes to cook. Be sure to check them often after the initial 30 minutes of cooking, piercing them with a fork or tasting them frequently to make sure they don't overcook (overcooked lima beans can easily turn to mush, as I've sadly experienced on a few occasions). They are ready when they're soft and tender but still holding their shape. Once they're cooked, drain them and let them cool, then place them aside in a large mixing bowl.
- To prepare the stew: In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, cook the onions in the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add the finely chopped garlic, salt, smoked paprika, and thyme. Cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the garlic is fragrant and soft. Add the red wine and olives, cooking for another 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes and simmer for about 20 minutes. After about 20 minutes, add the chopped kale, half of the chopped parsley, black pepper, and drained lima beans and cook for about another 10 minutes.
- Taste the stew. If it's too thick for your liking, add a little water or vegetable stock. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve the stew hot, with grated parmesan, a sprinkling of the remaining chopped parsley on top, and some nice crusty bread.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Aube Giroux is a food writer and filmmaker who shares her love of cooking on her farm-to-table blog, Kitchen Vignettes.
Aube is a passionate organic gardener and home cook who likes to share the stories of how food gets to our dinner plates. Her work has been shown on television and at international film festivals. Her web series was nominated for a 2014 James Beard Award. In 2012, she was the recipient of Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog award in the video category.