Butter beans, lima beans, whatever you want to call them, good, fresh butter beans are a real treat. When I start to see these fresh little green gems at the farmer’s market and produce stand, I load up on them. And I love to cook them in the Southern manner – with pork. Here I use bacon and add a simple, old-fashioned sauce. These would be great alongside a pork chop (maybe even a fried pork chop) with some sweet potatoes and cornbread. These are great in a big bowl with a slab of that cornbread hovering on the edge. Truthfully, I usually make myself a big pot and eat off of it for a few days. I say this recipe serves four, but that utterly depends on how you eat them – and your love for butter beans!
Southern Girl Butter Beans
For the Beans:
2 pounds fresh butter beans
3 strips bacon
1 half of an onion
1 clove garlic
½ – 1 teaspoon creole seasoning to taste (I prefer Tony Chachere’s)
For the Sauce:
2 Tablespoons butter
3 green onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup cooking liquid from beans
¼ teaspoon paprika
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place the beans, bacon, onion half, garlic clove and seasoning in a heavy saucepan. Add water just to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the beans are tender, about thirty minutes. When the beans are done, strain the beans, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the bacon, onion (which may have fallen into pieces – fish them all out) and garlic clove if you can find it.
Now make the sauce. Wipe out the bean pot and melt the butter in it. Add the green onions and sauté for a few minutes until soft, but do not brown. Sprinkle over the flour and stir until smooth. Slowly pour in the cooking liquid, whisking until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Add the paprika and lots of pepper to taste. Add the beans and stir to coat with the sauce. Warm the beans through. Season with salt to taste.