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In Praise of Christmas Lima Beans

Course Side Dish
Cuisine French


  • Cast iron stew pot


  • 1 lb. or 3 cups of lima beans
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2-3 grated garlic cloves
  • 1 dry kombu seaweed
  • finely chopped fresh thyme
  • finely chopped oregano
  • finely chopped sage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 carrots thinly sliced
  • 1-2 celery stalks thinly sliced
  • vegetable broth enough to cover them 2 inches above the top
  • sourdough bread


Cooking the beans:

  • This recipe is for about 1 lb. or 3 cups of beans. Give the dry beans a quick boil in water, then turn the heat off and let them soak in the hot liquid, covered, for an hour or so. Or, if cooking them is not a last minute decision, soak them overnight in cold liquid, covered.
  • Once soaked, pour the beans in a colander and let them drain.
  • In a cast iron stew pot, if possible, fry a finely chopped onion and 2 or 3 grated garlic cloves in vegetable oil until just golden.
  • Add: The beans, and enough vegetable broth to cover them 2 inches above the top. One dry kombu seaweed (found in any good health food store) for its capacity to make dry beans more digestible.
  • Fresh thyme, oregano and sage leaves chopped finely before being thrown in and this is my favorite method of using herbs for a more flavorful stew.
  • A whole bay leaf (which will be removed when the beans are cooked).
  • One or two carrots and one or two celery stalks, both thinly sliced.
  • Simmer for at least one hour. Taste to insure that the beans are not over cooked. They should be tender (without any crunch when you bite into one), but still holding their shape.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Optional: Half an hour before cooking is done, add one or two leeks, white part only, sliced thinly. A few small potatoes, peeled and cut in half. Fried and chopped bacon or fried and chopped vegetarian sausages.
  • And don’t forget the slices of hearty, warm sourdough bread to dunk in!


This recipe is good for all dry beans: gigante and regular Lima beans, cranberry beans, pinto beans etc...the method of cooking is the same. The length of it might differ with each variety.
Keyword Beans, Lima Beans,