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Monday, July 26, 2010

Mediterranean-Style Baked Lima Beans

Serves 6-8 From “Veganomicon” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
submitted by Bethany (this is her favorite way to use mint!)

"You may have lima bean baggage but this recipe will help you work through it. Please set your issues aside and for a moment imagine large, mild, tender beans with a creamy interior and a slightly tangy tomato sauce. (If you must, you can substitute navy or cannellini beans for the limas. But be sure to try it at least once with large lima beans.) This is a delightful spin-off of a traditional Greek home-style dish and is hearty meal alongside rice, potatoes and steamed greens. Or, serve them the traditional Mediterranean way, just slightly warmed, as part of a meze spread with olives, hummus, Cashew-Cucumber Dip, pickles, pita, and the like.

TIP: During the soaking, the beans will appear slip and their skins wrinkled; this is normal, so don't be alarmed.

Beans:
1 pound dried, large lima beans, soaked for at least 8 hours
2 quarts water
2 bay leaves
Sauce:
Vegetable bouillon cube
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped finely
1 small carrot, shredded
28 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup or agave nectar
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground nutmeg
black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

Drain and rinse the beans and place them in a large pot with the 2 quarts of cold water and the bay leaves. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium. Simmer the beans for 30 minutes, until tender but not fully cooked (the interior of the beans will still be grainy). Skim off any foam that may collect while beans are cooking. Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup of bean liquid, and set aside (leave the bay leaves with beans). Dissolve the vegetable bouillon cube in the reserved 1 cup of hot bean liquid; set aside.

While the beans are cooking, preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly oil a 4-quart Dutch oven or casserole dish (you can also prepare the beans in two batches in two 2-quart casseroles or Dutch ovens).

Prepare the sauce in either the prepared Dutch oven, if using, or a separate large saucepan. Heat the garlic and olive oil over medium heat until the garlic starts to sizzle. Add the onion, and stir until translucent and softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrot, stir and cook for another minute, and add the tomatoes, reserved vegetable bouillon, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, maple syrup, oregano, thyme, salt, and nutmeg. Stir and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, to reduce the sauce a little. Taste the sauce and season with black pepper and more salt if necessary. Stir in the beans, parsley, and mint.

Place in the prepared casserole dish (if not already in the Dutch oven), cover the dish, and bake the beans, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, until they are tender and the interior of the beans is creamy. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, to reduce the sauce a little bit and give the beans a slightly dry finish. Remove from the oven, remove the bay leaves, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving."

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