Mrs. Homegrown here:
Welcome back to Bean Fest, our Friday focus on the wonderful world of beans.
Our friend, Walton, sent in this recipe, which he got from friends. I don’t know anything about its Serbian-ness–whether this is a traditional dish there, or what. Maybe some of you can enlighten us. (I forgot to ask Walton.)
[ETA: Walton wrote in. It is a genuine Serbian dish. The recipe was given to Walton by his friend’s mom, Mrs. Milosavljevic. Thank you, Mrs. Milosavljevic!]
What I can tell you is that it is amazing: full of flavor and almost dangerously rich. If you know anyone who thinks eating beans for dinner is akin to wearing a hair shirt, make these for them. Dried Lima beans have a buttery taste on their own. Add to that a huge quantity of olive oil, and the scrumptious umami-savoriness of long-cooked onions, and you’ve got a palette paradise.
I’d classify these as a special occasion food, because they are so rich. One modest serving will fill you up. We ate them as a main dish with a basic green salad, which works nicely to counterbalance their oiliness, and had hunks of bread to sop up the juice. This recipe would work well as a side dish, of course. They’d also do well on a holiday table.
And best of all, they’re easy to make. They don’t have many ingredients, and there’s nothing complex about their cooking. They just take a little longer than most beans because of the time in the oven.
This is the recipe as he sent it:
Serbian Lima Beans
- I would suggest putting the bay leaves in the water with the beans when you first start cooking them.
- Also, this seems like a lot of olive oil, but it really makes the flavor, so I’d suggest you use some kind of tasty extra-virgin with a strong character.
- The onions should be caramelized slowly, barely making any noise while they cook down. This is the other strong flavor of the dish. Start the onions during the last hour of the beans boiling.
|This is what they look like fresh out of the oven|
Mrs. Homegrown’s notes:
Not much to add here. FYI 3 not-too-large yellow onions = 1 1/4 lbs.
I goofed by not reading the recipe correctly, so I caramelized the onions solo, instead of in the 1 1/4 cups of oil. (For some cracky reason I thought the oil was added later.) I had to back paddle and simmered the finished onions in the oil for about 10 minutes, hoping the flavor would infuse into the oil in that time. I think it worked. The mind boggles to think it might have been even better if I’d cooked it correctly.
Do be sure to cook the onions a nice long time, as Walton noted. That is the key to the recipe, and a point I don’t want anyone to miss.
The only thing I was unclear on was how much bean water to add back into the baking dish before cooking. Figuring wet beans are always much better than dry, burnt beans, I poured the reserved water into the dish until it just barely covered the top layer of beans. Then sealed the baking dish with foil. That seemed to work just perfectly.