There were two green vegetables I would eat without question as a kid: green peas and Lima beans; the large Fordhook Lima beans in particular.
In my house, creamed Lima beans were an absolute must-have for holiday dinners — Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Occasionally Limas made an appearance in my Nana’s succotash in the summer, but as a side dish on their own, they made their command appearance only at holiday dinners.
I often prefer holiday dinner sides to the main dishes. While others “ooh” and “aaah” over golden roasted fowl or glistening glazed ham, I am gazing longingly at the dishes of filling, Harvard beets, pepper cabbage, candied sweet potatoes…and my perennial favorite, tender, plump creamed Fordhook Limas.
Mom always served Limas creamed-style. We Dutchies love to douse our vegetables in a cream sauce; carrots, potatoes, peas… somehow everything good for you tastes better in cream!
Mom’s cream sauce was no muss, no fuss. There is no roux involved. She simply poured heavy cream over the cooked Limas, complimented that with a luscious chunk of butter, then added salt to taste and a generous pinch of black pepper. A few minutes simmering to reduce the cream slightly and they were ready to serve.
To this day, a bowl of creamed Fordhook Limas is one of my ultimate comfort foods. Give me a spoon and dish of these lovelies and I am set.
Fordhook limas can be difficult to find in the frozen veggie section in some area in the US; it was like a desert-land for them in New Hampshire, so I rarely got to enjoy them in the nearly two decades living there. Now that I am back “home” in PA, they are far less elusive – an opportunity I take full advantage of.
My husband does not care for them, so I take on the task of not allowing any to go to waste when I make them. No longer relegated to holiday dinners only, whenever I make creamed Lima beans that I re-live the fond memories so dear to me centered around the holiday celebrations of my youth in the 60’s and 70’s.
Here’s to the foods that make us happy, no matter how complex or simple. May they always bring a smile to our face and cherished memories to our hearts.
Creamed Lima BeansCourse: SidesCuisine: PA Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy
1 pound frozen Fordhook Lima beans
Heavy cream, as needed
2 Tablespoons butter, plus more if desired for individual servings
Freshly ground black pepper
- Cook frozen Lima beans in salted water as directed on package until nice and tender but not mushy. Drain and return to pot.
- Pour enough heavy cream over the beans until just shy of covering the beans. Add the butter, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to simmer and cook for 5 minutes to slightly thicken cream, stirring occasionally.
- Serve hot. Additional pats of butter may be added to individual servings as desired.