Speckled Butter Beans
Butter beans with color...
... that's the way I define speckled butter beans, I mean, with a color other than green. Now the taste is a lot different than the green variety, or at least I think so. The mottled brown legumes are a bit more earthy yet still brings about a creamy texture if cooked right.
We like these pole lima beans not only 'cause there darn right good, but they do well in our hot, humid southern climate. Long vines stretching upwards on strings or stick poles, these bean plants produce hardy, large pods filled with a flavor not found in many parts of the states. Now if you ever see frozen speckled butter beans, by all means buy a bag and get to cooking. That is something I do during the winter months. Like many beans, these do well by cooking long and slow on the stove-top adding water as it cooks down. The best thing about cooking these types of foods is the 'pot-likker' that you get and if cooked right, will be a seasoned, saucy almost gravy for cornbread mopping. Enjoy!
Speckled Butter Beans
1 pound shelled fresh speckled butter beans (about 3 cups), or butter beans, butter peas or limas (frozen will do too)
2 cups of chicken stock
1 ham hock, or 2 pieces of salt pork or bacon cooked
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small bay leaf
1 garlic pod
Salt and pepper to taste
couple pats of butter
Place the ham hock or other smoked meat into a medium saucepan along with the chicken stock, onion, bay leaf and garlic pod. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium low. Simmer for about 10 minutes and add the beans. Make sure the beans are covered with about an inch of liquid, if not, add more stock or water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return to a boil and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook slowly until the bean is creamy on the inside but not falling apart, about an hour or so. I like to turn off the heat and let the beans rest in the hot liquid for a while as I go about finishing up other supper dishes. Add butter, stir and reheat the beans prior to serving.
SEE ALSO: cooking southern varieties of field peas, creamy, sweet and buttery Lady Peas, and another favorite, black-eyed peas or Hoppin' John.