No matter if you call them butter beans or lima beans, those large, creamy beans you’ll find in cans or dried at the grocery store are a hearty legume that should be part of your cooking catalog.
In Spain, you’ll find them simmered in a savory broth that’s just begging for the company of a fresh baguette. Even though I spent time in Spain, I’m not convinced you’d miss 1/4 teaspoon of saffron, so feel free to leave it out. The almonds, however, add a complementary texture to the beans. But don’t feel like you have to spend the extra money on marcona almonds; plain almonds are fine.
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Spanish-Style Gigante Beans
To speed up prep for this recipe, use canned beans instead of dried ones. Just rinse and drain four 16-ounce cans butter beans and stir in to the tomato mixture as directed . Use 2 cups fresh water instead of the 2 cups bean cooking liquid.
1 lb. dried gigante or large butter beans (lima beans)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 pints grape tomatoes
1 cup jarred roasted red sweet peppers, chopped
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. saffron threads, crushed
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup marcona almonds or salted roasted almonds, chopped
For the garnish (optional):
1 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Rinse beans. In an oven-safe 4-quart pot combine beans and 8 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 1 hour. (Or place beans and water in pot. Cover and let soak in the refrigerator overnight.) Drain beans; rinse and return to pot. Add fresh water to cover beans by 1 inch. Cover and bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Drain beans in a colander, reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Set beans and liquid aside.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in the same pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add the next five ingredients (through bay leaves). Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until tomatoes start to break down, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans, salt and the reserved liquid. Bring to boiling. Move to oven and bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Top with almonds and, if desired, a parsley garnish. To make it, combine parsley, olive oil and garlic in a small bowl. Mash with the back of a spoon. Serves 6.
— From “ Better Homes & Gardens Wonder Pot: One-Pot Meals from Slow Cookers, Dutch Ovens, Skillets, and Casseroles” from the Meredith Corporation (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99)