M: As a kid, if asked what food I hated, lima beans was my go to answer. Broccoli? Love it. Spinach? Bring it on. Liver? OK, so I was a grown man before I ever tried liver. And here’s why. Liver was my mother’s “go to” food she hated, so she never served it. A fair policy, says me, and one I generally stick to in my own kitchen. And it’s why I went 20 years between lima beans. Sometime in the last decade, I was convinced to give it another try. Lo, and behold… Yeah, I still didn’t love them. But they weren’t terrible. Still probably not a top ten legume, but these days it is back on the menu. That is my baseline going into this one. What do you think? Am I still undervaluing the butterbean?
Here’s where this recipe works for me. The pitfall of butterbeans cooked to mushy (K: Or, you know…CREAMY) actually pays off. Pureed and cooked down in a little stock and mushy becomes a selling point. I think even the eight year old me could get on board. Probably not, though. That boy was stubborn.
K: WAS stubborn? Ha! Dude, if you can eat a mush made of sausage and oatmeal (Goetta, for those not from the Cincinnati area), there’s no way you can tell me butterbeans are too mushy for you. (M: Goetta rulz!)
The whole time I was making this, tasting as I went, I kept thinking what an awesome soup it would make. The first night, I served this over some lovely flounder filets, and it was really quite good. We all loved the mild, yet flavorful addition to the delicate fish. The next night, though, I followed my instincts and added vegetable stock and half n half to get a cream-soup consistency while re-heating, and WOW, yes. It was a fantastic soup, which was a perfect light meal with crusty bread and a salad. Two completely different meals from one recipe. I am ALL OVER that kind of efficiency.
Recipe: Butterbean Gravy
Summary: This flavorful, mild gravy of pureed butterbeans is a great companion to fish or poultry. Perhaps the perfect way to introduce this fantastic vegetable to the butterbean-skeptics in your life. Try reheating the next day with more stock and a little cream for a quick re-make of your leftovers….assuming you have any. From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
- 2 T Butter
- 1 T Garlic
- 1 Green Onion stalk, chopped
- 3 c Cooked Butterbeans*
- 3 c Chicken Stock
- 3 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add garlic and green onions and cook until garlic begins to brown.
- Stir in butterbeans.
- Transfer to food processor and puree.
- Return to pot and add chicken stock.
- Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer until thickened.
- Stir in basil.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
* M: As always, fresh if you can get it. I simmered mine for about half an hour with a little leftover smoked pork tossed in. K: And I used a leftover ham bone. Mmmm…salty pork.