I know, I know I do a lot of bean recipes, but that's probably because beans are as delicious as they are inexpensive, easy to prepare with flair and a nutritious staple. This recipe calls for a type of bean from a family that gets a bad rap: butter beans come from the lima bean family. Many a finicky eater has been begged to finish their lima beans, over protest. But butter beans are the larger, paler, more fluffy member of the family. Their slightly sweet flesh is thick and has a rich taste to it, so they are aptly named. Acidic fresh tomatoes offer a lovely compliment to the bean's rich taste, and herbaceous flat-leaf (Italian) parsley and perfectly bitter celery complete the flavor profile. The beans do take a long time to cook, but this recipe is healthy, cheap and so flavorful you will probably be able to convince that finicky eater. This would be perfect with couscous and some grilled trout or similar fish.
Butter Beans Braised with Tomatoes, Celery & Italian Parsley
Makes 8 - 10 large servings
1 lb. butter beans, cold soaked* 6 - 12 hours, then drained and rinsed
4 stalks celery, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped roughly
3 Tablespoons olive oil
12 cups filtered water
1 lb. heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add celery, onion and parsley and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Add beans and water, turn heat up and bring to a boil.
3. Just as the water begins to boil turn heat down to a low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, then add tomatoes, salt and pepper.
4. Continue to cook until beans are cooked through, roughly 30 minutes more. Check for doneness by tasting several beans and when several are soft they are cooked through. Serve accompanied by hot sauce or chili paste and garnished with roughly chopped flat leaf parsley leaves.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and I welcome your feedback!
*More info about soaking and preparing butter beans can be found here: http://www.finecooking.com/item/38827/butter-beans