All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015
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I love making thing with dried beans. They are so ridiculously cheap & can be made into so many different things – they provide endless opportunities. Typically mildly flavored – they take on the flavors you add & provide lots of nutrition and a texture that can be crunchy or creamy. When cooked, these giant lima beans are nearly as soft & creamy as gnocchi.
I found a bag of these giant lima beans at Ralph’s for $2. I wasn’t really sure what to do with them. I soaked them overnight & tasted one the next morning & it was still crunchy & kind of bitter. Intimidated, I Googled recipes and for this one here – Moroccan Tagine of Lima Beans, Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives. The photos were pretty & I already had all the ingredients – so I whipped it up – making a few minor tweaks here & there. Easy & quite delicious – flavorful because of the olives & tomatoes & spices but creamy & comforting because of those beans which had lost all their crunch & bitterness. She suggested serving this over couscous but I prefer the suggestion of crusty bread. I haven’t tried it but I feel like this would smear onto crostini easily & make a yummy appetizer.
PS – this dish calls for saffron which can be very expensive. I use Golchin liquid saffron seen in the photo below from my recipe for Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes (also seen below) – and it only costs about $7 for that bottle – and a bottle goes a long way. I recommend buying some not only because it is so cost efective but also because I believe it has a longer shelf life than fragile saffron threads.
Moroccan Giant Lima Beans, Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives
1 lb of giant lima beans soaked overnight or quick soaked
2 TBS olive oil
1 red onion – diced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves – minced
2 tsp ground coriander
2 TBS fresg ginger – minced
a pinch of saffron or 2 TBS liquid saffron (I used the liquid)
20 cherry tomatoes – left whole
1 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)
2 tsp dry thyme
2 TBS black olives (I used Kalamata) – chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 TBS)
Salt & pepper – important
1/4 cup cilantro – chopped (use parsley if you hate cilantro)
Soak the beans overnight or quick soak them in one hour. Drain the beans & then put them in a pot with enough water to cover them by an inch or two. Bring to a boil & let boil for about 5 minutes then reduce heat & simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Do not let the water simmer away. Taste for tenderness. If soft & creamy – rinse them under cold water. Be careful not to overcook them of they will become too mushy to hold their shape when mixed with the other ingredients.
Heat the olive oil over med-high heat & saute the onions until soft. Add the crushed red pepper & garlic & saute one minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Reduce the heat to med-low & add the coriander, ginger, saffron – stir to combine. Add tomatoes, agave & thyme & cover. Cook for 5-10 minutes – or until the tomatoes start to crinkle up & soften. Add the beans, olives and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Season with salt & pepper. Cover & cook another 5 minutes or until the beans are heated through.
Serve with fresh cilantro or parsley – maybe over couscous, or rice or smeared onto crusty bread.