Fresh shell beans are something that I do not grow myself but love to buy at the farmers market. Christmas Limas are large beans that are both meaty and sweet. They are great tossed in a salad, added to rice or quinoa, or simply on their own. Fresh Christmas Limas cook up quick and are just delicious!
I bring a big sack of them home, sit around the island with the kids and we shell them together. After the beans are shelled, I divide them up by the pound, toss them in baggies and stick them in the freezer. I have learned that the key to moist beans is to salt at the end, so don’t be tempted to salt as you go. If I have the wood burning oven on, I will finish the cooking process there, which gives the beans a rich smokiness and makes the cooking liquid creamier.
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ large onion diced
1 large carrot diced
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 pound Christmas Limas or any type of shell beans (Flageolet and Soldier Beans are some that I have found in our market)
1 quart homemade chicken stock
4 smoked dried tomatoes (I find these at the Hilltop Farms stand at the farmers market)
2 fresh bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
Sauté onions and carrots with olive oil on medium heat until onions are translucent, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Then, add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Simmer gently for 25 minutes or until tender. Remove both the bay leaves and stems of thyme. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep the beans in their cooking liquid until ready to use, then strain and enjoy.