Pilar's Baby Lima Bean Casserole
Authentic, homestyle foods, regional wines, and culinary traditions of Chile. Lima beans - Chilean style - are similar to our baked beans. These are cooked until soft with tomato and basil. Corn kernels are puréed, mixed with milk, and used to thicken the pot liquid. Suggested garnish is a sweet pepper oil. Serve as beans, with bread (or use as a side dish).
- 2 lb fresh baby lima beans in the pod or 3 cups shelled lima beans
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil divided
- 1 large ripe tomato or ¾ cup peeled seeded chopped tomato and drained
- 3 large fresh basil leaves chopped
- 4 cups de-fatted chicken broth or less as needed
- ½ lb pumpkin squash ¼-inch cubes
- salt to taste
- 1½ cup corn kernels
- ½ red bell pepper very finely diced
- 1 tbsp finely minced fresh basil
- Shell the lima beans, rinse, and drain.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the tomato and chopped basil; cook 3 minutes.
- Add the beans and add enough chicken broth to cover by 1 inch.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer covered, 20 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin; simmer until the beans are very tender but still holding their shape, 20 to 30 minutes.
- (cooking times will vary according to age and size of beans.
- ) season generously with salt.
- Meanwhile, purée the corn with a generous cup of the bean cooking liquid in a blender or food processor.
- Press the puree through a sieve; only the milky part will be used.
- Discard the solids.
- Stir the corn milk into the beans, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Taste, and adjust the seasoning.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a small pan over medium heat.
- Add the bell pepper, and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
- Season with salt.
- Ladle the lima beans into individual earthenware bowls, and top with the bell pepper oil and a sprinkle of minced basil.
- Serve with crusty bread.
There are many tasty variations of this wonderful fresh bean dish; many involve bacon and lots of onions. Pilar's recipe, unos porotos a chuparse los dedos ("some beans to lick your fingers"), omits those two ingredients. The dish is softer and more delicate.
Tip: you can use any fresh shelling beans, but the tender lima beans that come to market in the united states in late spring make this dish a real treat when served a side dish with a roasted leg of lamb, Chilean style.