May 17, 2012

Rich and spicy lima bean chowder



I was dining alone the other night which meant my motivation for cooking something interesting was lagging. But I was hungry for spicy and delicious sustenance — and I was craving lima beans. Lima beans are not usually on the "crave" list, but you gotta do what you gotta do. And I wanted limas.

I wanted something easy to make (lazy), relatively fast (short attention span) that made use of what I had in the refrigerator and pantry. Lucky for me, dried lima beans cook really fast in a pressure cooker even without a pre-soak, so the "fast" part was within reach. I already had carrots, and kale in the fridge, potatoes in the potato drawer and a giant bag of organic, frozen Costco corn in the freezer. There was also a partially used jar of Trader Joe's no salt added tomato sauce that needed to be used up, in the fridge. The spices are ones that are always in my pantry.

When I'm trying to think of something to make, I imagine what I want it to taste like. I close my eyes and think about the flavor, texture and appearance, then set about making it happen. The chowder I ended up with exceeded my expectations. It really was great — thick, rich with flavor, satisfying. I ate my fill, then left it cooling on the stove while I went to catch up on the last episode of Mad Men, which I had missed. To make a long story short, when I woke up the next morning, I suddenly remembered the soup was still out. I had to ditch it, though it was painful. Lucky for you, I wanted the soup again so much, I remade it, measuring this time so I could save the recipe. The second incarnation was identical to the first, except it was shared with my husband, who agreed it was something special.

I'm submitting the recipe to Ricki's Wellness Weekend.


Rich and spicy lima bean chowder
  • 1 cup dried lima beans, sorted and washed
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 medium carrots, washed, peeled, cut into a small dice
  • 1 medium-to-large yellow potato, washed, unpeeled, cut into a small dice
  • 2 tablespoons dehydrated chopped onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried chipotle powder
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used Trader Joe's no salt added)
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg's aminos (or wheat-free tamari)
  • 2 cups frozen corn (I used organic to avoid gmo corn)
  • 2 cups kale, shredded (I used org. red and green kale)
  1. Wash the beans well to get all the dirt off (limas always seem so dirty compared to other dried beans) and place them in a pressure cooker with 6 cups of water. Bring to pressure and cook about 18 minutes. Bring the pressure down quickly. (follow manufacturer's directions for your cooker.)
  2. Open the cooker and add the carrots and potato. Bring back up to pressure and cook 1-1/2 minutes. Bring pressure down quickly. (follow manufacturer's directions for your cooker.)
  3. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric and chipotle powder. Stir.
  4. Stir in the Bragg's and the tomato sauce.
  5. Add the corn and kale and stir in. Reheat and simmer briefly until the corn is hot and the kale wilted. Taste for salt. (I didn't add additional salt to mine.)
  6. If you are not avoiding oil, drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the soup before serving. Or, add some avocado slivers as a garnish.
Four servings. Can be made in less than an hour, start to finish. See notes below for non-pressure cooker directions.

Cooking and ingredient notes:
  1. I find that if I soak the lima beans for an hour, the dirt is easier to get off. If I don't have time to soak them, I just rub them together between my hands and make sure all the dirt is removed. The cooking time is the same if you give them a short soak.
  2. I cut up my veggies and combine the spices in a small dish while the beans are cooking. The timing seems about right.
  3. Granulated garlic is not the same as garlic powder. I find it much easier to use and store the granulated stuff because it doesn't get hard. If you only have powder, use about 1/2 teaspoon and taste to see if you need more. Or, use two large minced cloves of fresh garlic if you prefer fresh to dried.
  4. Instead of Bragg's or tamari, you could use soy sauce (if you don't care about gluten-free) or just salt to taste, though the Bragg's or tamari add flavor.
  5. I used 1 teaspoon of chipotle powder (not chipotle chili powder) for a moderately spicy flavor. Use 1/2 teaspoon for a less spicy soup. Use smoked Spanish paprika for even less spice.
  6. I cooked the dried beans in a 6-quart pressure cooker, but you could use canned beans (2 cans, drained) instead of dried. If you do, use about four cups of low-salt stock for the water. You could also soak dried beans overnight in water to cover, drain the next day, and simmer for about one-and-one-half to two hours or until they are tender, before proceeding with the recipe. Use about four cups of the cooking water for the soup stock. When using canned or conventionally cooked beans, add the carrots and potatoes to the cooked beans and stock, then cook until the vegetables are tender. Then follow the rest of the recipe (steps 3 through 6).
 October, 2016 update: If I were to make the chowder today, I'd use my Instant Pot! I'll make it soon so I can post an updated recipe, and link to it here.
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Have you had a look at the auction Richa from Hobby and More is holding to benefit VSPCA - Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals? Head over to Richa's auction page to see if there is something you'd like to bid on. You'll find books, jewelry, delicious baked goods and other items to choose from.
 

(Note: this post is from 2012 and is no longer applicable.)

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The photographer meets her match in pink


Miss E practices her photography skills.

31 comments:

  1. For years I would have escaped to Lima rather than endure a lima bean, and then my late sister-in-law made pasta and lima beans that made me stay put. I love thick soups and now gratefully lima beans. Lucky for me, you posted this.

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    1. Well, I'm glad you didn't move to Lima. Then you might be writing your blog in Spanish and I wouldn't be able to read it.

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  2. Very awesome sounding soup! I didn't get into limas until recently but they are pretty great. I like tomatoey broth bean soups a lot too but rarely make them.
    Cute little camera miss e has there!

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    1. I never used to like limas either, but now they are a favorite. They cook fast and although they are low in fat, make a very rich soup.

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  3. Lima beans don't seem to be a thing here! Are they also called butter beans? If so, you can get them, but they're still not a huge thing here. I quite like them, though?

    last night, an episode of the Simpsons was on, and Bart was complaining about having to eat frozen lima beans, which didn't seem overly appealing, however your recipe does look great!

    good on you for your improv skills. i'm not there quite yet..

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    1. From what I can gather, there are two types of lima beans — large ones and small ones — and the large ones are also called butter beans. There are some differences but basically they seem to be interchangeable.

      Don't listen to Bart, my chowder tasted great!

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  4. Oh, I hate it when I have to throw out food! I feel for you. That same kind of thing happened last week when I made a big batch of rice and forgot it on the stove. I didn't remember it again until the next morning.

    This soup looks so delicious! Lima beans don't get nearly enough action in my kitchen. It's not easy to take a pretty picture of soup, but you nailed it with this one!

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    1. You know, I think it's OK to leave rice out for a night. I've done that on someone's recommendation to avoid it turning hard in the refrigerator. As long as it's not really hot in the kitchen, it should be fine.

      Dried limas sit in my pantry a long time, too, but I think they are going to see more play in my kitchen now.

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    2. That's good to know, Andrea! I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm forgetful!

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  5. Just made a hearty soup myself. This looks fantastic!

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    1. I'll have to head over to your blog to see if there's a recipe — I love a good, thick soup.

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  6. Looks good! I didn't know until about ten years ago that lima beans could actually taste good. I grew up eating them canned, and yeech, they were so disgusting! G was the one who taught me that beans come dried - I had no idea before I met him. Now, I can enjoy them. And, so perhaps, on a night when the couch is lulling me into a deep, forgetful sleep, I'll make me a batch of this soup.

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    1. I don't think I've ever had canned limas — or at least I don't remember any. That's probably because I didn't think I liked them. Now I think they are yummy, especially in this spicy chowder. You should make some because you love spicy food, right?

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  7. what a cutie. Hey, when are you coming back?

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    Replies
    1. July. Will you be around?

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    2. As far as I know, I'll be around most of July. At some point I'm going out East to visit the fam. Look forward to seeing you!!!!!

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  8. Great looking soup for my family
    http://veganrawfood.net

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    1. It's certainly not a raw recipe, Margaret, but it was really delicious. :)

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    2. Oh yes, my household is half vegan cooked and half vegan raw.

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    3. Aha! We eat a lot of raw food but mostly cooked for dinner.

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  9. Lima beans are so hard to find, so to me they are definitely a very special bean. I am bookmarking your recipe so I can make it next time I see some lima beans.

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    1. I didn't realize lima beans were so hard to find! You're the second person to tell me that. I think they are most popular in the Southern U.S., but I've never had trouble finding them.

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  10. Great soup- especially since there's a week of rain ahead in my parts. I haven't watched Sunday's MM episode yet; thanks for not spoiling!

    PS Better to leave the soup out than the oven on.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Once I left the stove on and went out. I managed to remember and get back home before there was a fire, but barely.

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  11. I love lima beans. My mom used to make the best ham and bean soup with limas. Obviously those days are behind me, but this will certainly take its place!

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    1. My mother didn't like beans so I never even knew about them (except for Heinz baked beans!) until I became vegetarian. Now I love them and get cravings for different varieties. The soup came from a lima bean craving. :)

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  12. Oh yum--I love limas! This looks delicious :-)

    Courtney

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    1. The soup surprised me by tasting so much better than I expected — sometimes that just happens. I'm already planning to make it again.

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  13. Hmmm, the comments are as edifying as the post, because I was about to leave a comment asking what bean you would recommend subbing for limas if, say, one of your readers happened to be a lima-hater! ;-) But it appears from multiple experiences that I should give limas a try, and dried limas a definite try. I could relate to Gigi's comment - my mother served lima beans (frozen, probably) as a side dish often, and I never liked the flavor or the texture. I like every other kind of bean though, so go figure! Anyway, I'll try this soup, which looks and sounds delicious, a try as written!

    I'm diggin' Miss E's camera! :-)

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    1. I never used to eat lima beans either, even though Ken claimed they were his favorite. I found them weird-tasting and sandy-textured. Now I love them. But, I'm sure the soup would work with other beans, too.

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