It is midsummer still. I am a big fan of beans in the summer. Why? In dried form they last and last. You can throw a bag of dried lima beans in the pantry and cook them 4 years later and they still taste great. Unless you have access to reliable refrigeration when you are travelling in summer, I would prefer to avoid carting meat around.
Obviously it is hard to resist the call of BBQ salmon or burgers. But for a regular mid-day meal or evening side dish that many would enjoy – and pretty darn safe in above average temperatures – then it is time to put beans back on the table.
The following is a dish I turn to every summer when I spend time on one of the islands and have limited or unreliable refrigeration. All you need is a large bag of lima beans or fava beans. Once they have been soaked and cooked you can do a number of things.
First off, sauté the beans in bacon fat with added olive oil. Sauté them with chopped onion and fresh rosemary and pepper. Throw in a few more finely chopped veggies – such as diced bell peppers for colour. This dish makes a great side dish. Then later – add some veggie broth and turn it into a soup. I LOVE soup! And bean soup I enjoy a lot – even at tepid or room temperature. Again, no worries about meat going off in hot weather. Sometimes I don’t have much of an appetite during the hot spells….so beans are a great option for sustenance.
Here’s to summer creativity in the kitchen – either camping or at a cabin – and bring out the beans!
Sautéed Lima Beans:
One large bag of large-sized lima beans (or fava beans)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil and/or bacon fat
Soak beans for 6 hours, then drain water and cook beans with fresh water covering the lima beans by 3 inches.
Bring to boil and simmer until beans are tender
Note: DO NOT RUSH THIS PROCESS. If you take beans off stove too early and before they are fork tender they will NOT cook well later.
When tender, drain beans and sauté beans in bacon fat and olive oil and chopped onion and other veggies as available. Add 2 tbs of fresh rosemary. The dish is finished when the bacon fat gives a caramelised finish and subtle crust to the beans. Using a large cast iron enameled pot gives a good finish to the beans!
Serve as side dish or main (maybe add some chopped cooked bacon).
Take your leftover sautéed beans and add to a soup stock made strictly with veggie ends, 30 peppercorns, and 2 bay leaves. See broth photo attached. I used the ends/cores from bell peppers, dill stems, onion ends, parsley ends and cauliflower stalks – which were going to go into the “green bin” but I saved. Someone else’s veggie “waste” is my soup stock base!
Black Bean and Veggie Hash:
3 cups cooked black beans
1.5 cups cilantro, chopped
3 tbs bacon fat and/or olive oil
1 cup onion
2 cups thinly sliced zuchini
1-2 cups corn kernels
juice of one lime
1 tbs cumin
pepper to taste
Saute onion, zucchini, and black beans in fat and/or oil. Add cilantro, cumin and corn. Saute until veggies are soft, caramelized and flavourful. When finished add lime juice and pepper to taste. Makes an amazing lunch or side dish. And you can always add 2-3 cups of veggie broth to leftovers for a delicious soup following day.
Enjoy the rest of summer and happy slurping!