Years ago, my mother sent me a new recipe, using one of my favorite foods…BUTTERBEANS. I loved those things which was something of a miracle considering how picky I was about food. But butterbeans spoke to me like not many other foods. They were tasty in a nutty sort of way. They were creamy in a comfort food sort of way. Mother always threw in some ham or ham hock so the “hamishnes”s of the beans appealed to my childish tastes.
AND…the bonus was, this was a cheap dish for our very tight teacher’s salary grocery budget! Everytime I made this during our teaching years in Texas, I could count on one particular coach showing up for dinner. Every. Time. 🙂
So, here’s one of my favorite winter dishes and I promise, you will love it. It’s jam-packed with taste…which is the best part. And it goes together pretty darned fast.
Oh. By the way. Those of use from the South know what butterbeans are…Yankees might call them lima beans. Or not. 🙂
Tie on those pretty aprons and let’s get to cooking girls and guys!
Lima Beat Pot
1 1/2 pound smoked sausage link OR package of Little Smokies OR some of your homemade venison link sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
Note: if you like lots of veggies, then add more to your taste!
1 lb. package of lima beans OR 2 cans canned lima beans
1 1/4 cup tomato juice
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/12 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
Beano (for obvious reasons!)
Place the lima beans in a large pot with about 8 cups of water. I prefer baby limas because they cook faster and the amount of water is negotiable. It doesn’t really matter that much, just as long as you have enough to cook the beans in but not too much so that the water boils over.
Bring the beans to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to simmer, put the lid on and begin chopping those veggies. The beans will need to cook around 30 minutes, more or less…until they’re soft but not to the point of falling apart. The large limas will take a bit longer. Note: when the limas cook, sometimes part of the bean will cook out and will resemble a little worm. It is NOT a worm. I repeat. It is NOT a worm. It’s the “hilus/m” of the seed. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown out my beans thinking they had “got wormy”. I know…icky thought!
I don’t use bell peppers in much of anything (they do NOT agree with my delicate constitution!) so I buy one, chop up the whole thing, throw half of it into this recipe and bag the other half to freeze for later. I do the same thing with the celery. Doing this keeps me from having to throw out veggies that have gone soggy in the fridge.
OK, now that we have that problem solved, start cutting up the sausage. Again, it doesn’t really matter how big or small you slice the sausage. And it you can use less sausage or more. I personally prefer more.
Put the sausage into a heavy pan/pot to begin browning it over medium heat. As it’s browning, add the chopped veggies and stir the mixture often to keep it from getting too brown (or burned).
Once the sausage is browned and the beans cooked, dump the contents of the sausage pan into the bean pot. If there’s a lot of grease from the sausage, strain it out before you add to the beans.
To the bean pot add the tomato juice, sugar, salt and chili powder. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer and put the lid on. Let it all simmer for around 30 minutes or so. You want all those flavors to meld together.
Our favorite side dish for this is hot cornbread. This is more of a soup but not quite. Just plain old GOOD!! And perfect on a cold, snowy day to eat in front of the fireplace while watching a basketball game. Or Downton Abbey. Depends on who grabbed the remote control first!! 🙂