Lima Beans and Ham uses up all sorts of bits and pieces of leftover ham. It is so very delicious the day you make it and even better on the next day!
This recipe uses three varieties of lima beans, which gives variety to the dish. Baby lima beans are tender and darker green, while butter beans are pale yellow and have a buttery flavor. Fordhook lima beans are simply a larger varietal of the baby lima beans. I like the change in flavor and texture between these three varieties. But you can make this dish with any single variety.
Among all the dishes I make, I have to say I love the one-pot meals the most. They always feel homey and satisfying to me. But most of all, I love the simplicity to make them and the easy clean-up. Because after a busy day, who wants to clean up several pans and serving dishes after dinner?
Although one-pot meals only take a single pot, there is no shortage of flavor. Many one-pot meals require several hours of a long, slow simmer, such as Pot Roast, Beef Stew, and Chicken Adobo. But, there are some that simmer for only about an hour and are so amazingly simple in prep and ingredients!
This recipe for leftover ham and lima beans is exactly that, a one-pot wonder that has only 15 minutes of prep time, has a shorter simmer time, and best of all uses up a small amount of leftover ham to make a hearty and comforting meal.
This dish of Lima Beans and Ham is real comfort food and so very delicious. It is home style. But, it is also homely. Yes, I am really saying it is not a pretty dish. It is pretty as it goes together, but as it simmers it loses its color and looks a little drab. But, that is really okay. The flavor more than makes up for its lack of photogenic beauty!
So, let's cook!
- Safflower Oil - Any neutral flavored cooking oil will work. I prefer safflower oil and generally use it for all sautéeing.
- Yellow Onions - Yellow onions are generallly less sharp in flavor and a good match to the beans.
- Baby Lima Beans - Baby Lima Beans are smaller than Fordhook lima beans and a brighter green color.
- Fordhook Lima Beans - These are the larger variety of green lima beans.
- Butter Beans - Butter Beans are similar in size to Fordhook lima beans. They are pale yellow in color and have a "buttery" flavor when cooked, hence the name. However, in some parts of the country "butter beans" are any lima bean especially small ones.
- Ham - Either smoked ham or brown sugar ham is excellent in this recipe and will give a slightly different flavor to the dish. Feel free to use up irregular pieces and bits of leftover ham.
- Chicken Stock - Chicken stock brings more flavor than plain water and especially tastes amazing if you like a lot of broth with your lima beans and ham.
- Bay Leaf - Just one bay leaf will enhance the flavor with its distinctive herbal and floral aromatics. Always remove the leaf before serving.
Step 1 - In a Dutch Oven heat the safflower oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped onion and sauté until the onion is transparent.
Step 2 - Add the baby lima beans, Fordhook lima beans, butter beans, ham, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1-hour stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-low, crack the lid and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes to reduce the liquid by half.
Step 3 - Remove the bay leaf, serve in bowls... and enjoy!
Substitutions & Variations
Use just one type of lima beans. This recipe is also delicious if made with just one type of lima beans. Butter beans are soft and buttery. While Fordhook lima beans are more vegetal in flavor. Go ahead and experiment and try a single variety. You might just like it better.
Substitute butter for butter beans. If you really love the smooth flavor of butter beans and can't find any, add 3 tablespoons of butter to the lima beans toward the end of the simmering time. This will give the dish a buttery flavor.
Substitute smoked pork chops or bacon for the ham. Simply cut either or both of these into small bite-sized pieces.
Make Ahead and Storage
This dish of lima beans and ham is delicious the day you make it and even better the next day. The flavors of braised, stewed, and long-simmered dishes, and sauces are greatly improved when the ingredients have a chance to meld and "marry".
Refrigerator - Lima Beans and Ham can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and will keep 2 to 3 days.
Freezer - This dish freezes beautifully. Simply pack it into an airtight freezer container and it will keep for 1 to 2 months in a freezer.
And there you have it! Lima Beans and Ham, a whole meal in a bowl that is delicious to the last bite. Serve it with cornbread muffins or you can choose crusty, rustic bread to sop up any broth left in the bottom of the bowl.
If you are looking for another simple one-pot wonder meal, my Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup takes just 30 minutes to make and is very hearty and comforting.
Lima Beans and Ham
- 2 Tablespoons Safflower Oil
- 2 Cups Chopped Onions, (approximately 2 medium)
- 12 oz. Frozen Baby Lima Beans
- 10 oz. Frozen Fordhook Lima Beans
- 6 oz. Frozen Butter Beans
- 2 Cups Cooked Ham, Chopped or Cubed
- 4 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1 Bay Leaf
- In a Dutch Oven heat safflower oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped onion and sauté until onion is transparent.
- Add baby lima beans, Fordhook lima beans, butter beans, ham, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1-hour stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-low, crack the lid and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes to reduce the liquid by half.
- Remove the bay leaf, serve in bowls... and enjoy!
Nutrition Per Serving
All nutritional information on this site is an estimate. Your results may vary.