My mom’s approach to cooking beans jived with her approach to coffee: Coffee was best black, she often said, with nothing mixed in. And beans were best unadorned, too (although she did like some raw onion slices on the side.) So….when I first met this old Texas recipe for lima beans baked with molasses, maple syrup, onions, and bacon at a Ladies Guild potluck at my childhood church, it was revelatory. I am sure I made a pig of myself. Try a big bowl of these sweet and smoky beans with one of LRF’s Alabama Ice Box Rolls.
Makes 10-12 servings
- 1 lb. dry baby lima beans
- water for soaking
- 6 cups cold water
- 1/2 lb. hardwood-smoked bacon
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 can tomato soup
- 2 cups bean liquid, reserved
- In a large bowl, cover lima beans in water to 3 inches over the beans.Soak overnight. Drain.
- In large heavy pot, cover beans with 6 cups fresh, cold water. Heat to boiling, skim. Turn heat down and simmer 1 hour. Drain beans, reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
- In heavy skillet, cook bacon. Drain and reserve fat. Remove bacon to paper-towel-lined plate
- Add chopped onion to skillet with 1 Tbsp reserved bacon fat. Cook until soft, adding a little water as needed to soften/cook onions without browning them.
- In large ovenproof crock, or cast-iron Dutch oven, combine beans, onion and bacon and add molasses, maple syrup, tomato soup, spices and 2 cups bean liquid. Bake for three hours at 300 degrees