As far back as I can remember, I loved lima beans; large or small, fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.
A real treat to me, frozen Fordhook lima beans showed up on every holiday table in our Coal Region home. They were as traditional a part of the meal as the bread or potato filling, candied sweet potatoes, pepper cabbage, and ham or turkey for every celebration.
But I don’t really know why they were relegated to special occasions at our house; perhaps they were more expensive that other frozen vegetables or maybe not easily found. Whatever the reason, they were as special to me as any other dish on the table.
The large green limas just scream “home”to me. While living in New Hampshire, the veggie love of my life was really hard to find; the more difficult to locate, the more my craving for them grew.
About six years before my best friend, Peg, passed away, I drove from NH to visit her and explore “home”; see what was new and what remained the same.
Shortly after arriving at her home in Ashland, PA, we struck out to do some shopping in the area. As I swooned over sticky buns, luscious pieces of smoked ham. chubs of Lebanon bologna, and blocks of scrapple on display throughout the store, she asked me, “What would you like right now?”
As she barely finished her words, I turned my head and my gaze fell right on bags of frozen Fordhook limas through the clear glass freezer door. “Those!”, I exclaimed. I ripped the door open, grabbed a bag, threw it in the cart and 30 minutes later, those green beauties were cooking away on her stove top.
I drained them, plopped them in a bowl, tossed them with salt, black pepper, and a generous pat of butter, grabbed a spoon, and devoured them. (Yes, I did share with Peg.) To this day, those were the best lima beans I ever had
Now, back living in Pennsylvania, I do not have nearly the difficulty locating frozen lima beans. They still have a cherished spot on the holiday menu, but my husband does not care for them, so I valiantly work my way through them myself (oh, what a chore…).
When fresh corn season rolls around, I put my trusty lima beans to work in a basic succotash my Nana used to make. Although succotash recipes vary from region to region, this very basic version is my favorite.
I have been known to make a bowl of this my entire supper — and you will not hear me complain. I look forward to leftovers as much as enjoying it on the first day it’s made.
If you prefer to skip the bacon in the recipe, saute the onion in 2 Tablespoons butter and proceed as directed.
Nana’s Creamy SuccotashCourse: Side DishesCuisine: Coal Region, PA DutchDifficulty: Easy
Plump lima beans and sweet corn kernels come together in this holiday — or any day — dish.
4 strips smoked bacon, diced
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels OR 1 (11 ounce) can vacuum-packed sweet corn kernels
1 (10-ounces) box or bag frozen Fordhook lima beans (the large ones)
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup half and half, light or heavy cream (may add more/less as you prefer)
Salt and pepper to taste
- If you are using fresh corn use a sharp knife to trim kernels from the cob. Use the back of the knife to scrape the cut area to get the “milk” from the corn that remains on the cob. If you are using canned corn, drain off the liquid. Set aside.
- Cook the frozen lima beans following package directions. Drain, set aside.
- Cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper to drain; leave grease in pan. Add the diced onion to the bacon grease and saute over medium-low until the onions are softened but not brown. Crumble the cooled bacon and set aside.
- In the pan with the sauteed onions, add the corn, stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes to cook the corn. Add drained lima beans. Add the half and half/cream to get the “creaminess” you desire, stir in the butter, season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer a couple minutes to heat thoroughly.
- Sprinkle with crumbled bacon as garnish when serving, if desired.
- Serve hot.