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Abrazos! xox Penny

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bean Great So Far!

Here is the recipe I nice on New Year's Day along with brown rice (local or from Lundberg) and lots of greens. This combo serves up all the traditional "good luck" foods as well as serves up a clean, healthy start to the year. Beans are golden...absolutely a powerfood in a class by themselves. And, I am a huge fan...Bean Queen as well as Veggie Queen. Sometimes, those grocery store bags are old and the beans are quite bland and starchy. Try to find a store that has bulk beans or better yet, heirloom ones. I used an heirloom red lima that I found in the farmers' market. Wonderful flavor...faintly like chestnuts.

Yes, for you readers who are purists, I know that it is past New Year's Day but what the heck...make today your lucky day!!

New Year's Lima Beans (recipe and  pix from Food and Wine)

3 cups dried giant lima beans or gigantes, rinsed and picked over, then soaked for 4 hours and drained
Kosher salt
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced 
One 16-ounce can whole tomatoes—juices reserved, tomatoes coarsely chopped 
2 tablespoons chopped oregano 
1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese (6 1/2 ounces), for sprinkling 
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
2 tablespoons chopped oregano 
2 tablespoons chopped parsley 
1 small garlic clove, minced 
Kosher salt 

In a large saucepan, cover the lima beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the limas are just tender but still al dente, about 2 1/2 hours; add water as needed to keep the limas covered by 2 inches. Season the limas with salt and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Drain the limas, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. 

In a medium saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately low heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano and the reserved bean cooking liquid and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 1 hour. Season the tomato sauce with salt. 

In a mini food processor, combine the olive oil with the oregano, parsley and garlic and pulse to a coarse puree. Season the oregano pesto with salt. 

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, mix the limas with the tomato sauce and sprinkle the feta on top. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 40 minutes, until the beans are bubbling and the cheese is browned. Remove the baking dish from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until toasted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt.

Top the beans with the bread crumbs, dollop with the oregano pesto and serve. Each bite brings delicious luck!

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