Lima Beans w/ Andouille Sausage and Ham
Any kind of beans served over rice is a Southern staple. Like any dish that's central to a culture, everyone has their own way of doing it, and everyone believes that their way is the best way. This version of lima beans and rice was taught to me by family, and never fails me.
If you look in my freezer at any given day during the year, you will always find a tupperware container filled with beans, and a Ziploc bag on top filled with cooked jasmine rice (because it heats up like a dream and saves time).
Cooking a pot of beans can be a little intimidating, but my goal with this recipe is to take the intimidating factor out of cooking dried beans and to show that they're an incredibly cost effective, easy dish to make.
Since the beans are dry, if you don't start off by soaking them for at least 6 hours, your cooking time is going to be extraordinarily long, so don't skip this step! Once they've been soaked they're going to be bigger than they were to begin with and the skin may wrinkle or have some texture. Some of the beans may split open too, this is normal.
Now, it's time to start the actual cooking process. Get the biggest pot you have, like a good stock pot, and throw some olive oil or butter in there to start sweating your veggies. This combo of vegetables is known as the "holy trinity" in the South (bell pepper, onion, and celery). After about 20 minutes add the garlic and give it a minute or so to sweat out.
Now, add the drained and rinsed beans, the chicken stock (make it yourself if you can!!), bay leaves, old bay, ham hocks, and cayenne if you want a little kick. Bring it to a boil and once it starts to bubble, reduce it to a simmer. Stir it occasionally and check on it, but it's pretty easy from here on out.
After about two hours your beans should look like this! If they don't and there's too much liquid left, let it go for another 20, and if there's not enough liquid left, add just a little more chicken stock.
Remove the ham hocks and let them cool, and remove the bay leaves and discard them. Once they've cooled, pick all the ham that you can from bone and set it aside for later.
You know how when you get beans at a restaurant, they're thick and creamy, and you wonder how they got like that with just beans, stock, and some vegetables? I have the solution!! Get yourself a potato masher or just a big fork and start smashing at the beans just as they are right now. Try and smash about half of them. At first it's going to look just how it does in the above photo, but just with some of the beans smashed (trust me though). Bring this mixture back to a boil and the starch that the beans released will thicken the mixture like a dream. Let it boil for a few minutes then remove from the heat.
In a large skillet sear your andouille sausage or smoked turkey sausage. Two notes about this. First: don't overcrowd your pan whatever you do. When you overcrowd the pan, your food tends to steam rather than brown which isn't what we're going for here. Second: turkey and pork have very different fat contents, so for turkey you're going to need oil in the pan while you brown and for pork/andouille you're not since it's going to release it's own fat.
Add back in your picked ham and add the seared sausage. Salt it now! Add salt to your taste preferences. Serve it over jasmine rice and maybe with a side of french bread. I like to top it with parsley or some green onions for a little extra color. But no worries if you don't have it on hand, I didn't this time.
NOTE: You can try this with any dried bean you may just need to adjust the cooking time depending on it's size.
NOTE 2: These beans are pretty easy! As long as the beans are soft throughout when you go to mash them, and there's enough liquid left to help thicken when you bring it back to a boil, you should be good.
LIMA BEANS W/ ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE AND HAM
1 pound large lima beans
6 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 onion, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic diced
4 cups chicken stock
2 smoked ham hocks
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional if you like spice)
3 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 pound andouille sausage or smoked turkey sausage
jasmine rice, for serving
salt to taste
chopped parsley or green onion for garnish
1. In a large bowl, add the lima beans and 6 cups of water and let soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
2. Heat a large stockpot over medium high heat, add the olive oil or butter, the onion, bell peppers, and celery. Allow them to sweat until they are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Once they are, add the garlic and allow to cook for another minute or two.
3. Add the chicken stock (homemade preferable), ham hocks, drained beans, bay leaves, and Old Bay seasoning (and cayenne: optional). Give it a good stir and bring to a boil over medium heat.
4. Once the beans reach a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer and cover. Stir occasionally ensuring the beans aren't sticking to the bottom or absorbing too much moisture.
5. Meanwhile, slice the andouille or turkey sausage into small disks. Heat a large skillet and sear them on either side. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan or they will steam rather than sear, it's okay to do this in a few batches. If using andouille sausage or pork sausage, you probably won't need any oil since it is a fattier meat. If you are using turkey, you will need about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan to cook it since it is a much leaner protein. Set aside once browned.
6. After about 2 hours the beans should have grown in size, be soft throughout, yet there should still be some broth absorbed. See photo above in blog post. If not, add a little more chicken broth.
7. Remove the ham hocks and the bay leaves from the pot. Discard the bay leaves and place the ham hocks on a plate to cool. Once cool, pick the meat from the ham hock and set aside.
8. Using a potato masher, or just a big fork, mash about half of the beans (this will help them get thick). Once this step is completed, bring the beans back to a boil so the mashed beans get thick.
9. Add the sausage and picked ham to the thickened beans and add salt to taste. (SEE NOTE)
10. Serve over jasmine rice. And maybe a side of toasted Udi's gluten free baguette with butter for kicks.
**Note: I added the Old Bay at the beginning since it adds flavor throughout even though it has a little bit of salt. (this is okay) Salt makes beans tough if it cooks for too long, so wait until the end to add all of the salt. Try tablespoon by tablespoon or teaspoon by teaspoon at the end until it tastes right to you.**