Here is a cheap and satisfying dish for those who like beans, as I do. It works as well with other dried beans, such as navy, Great Northern, cannellini or judías, but classically dried lima beans are used. You will need a pound bag of dried large limas, two ham hocks, half an onion and half a carrot. The ham hocks (smoked pork hocks) can be found frozen in your supermarket at a very low cost. The whole recipe, which fills a large saucepan or a considerable number of stomachs, costs only a little over two dollars, even today. There is hardly any way to get more nutrition at less cost! There is not much ham in this dish. Of course, you can add as much as you want, but the dish is mainly beans, not ham, which is only flavoring.
The night before, wash the dried limas in a large bowl, then add enough water to cover and let stand overnight. The beans swell considerably. The next day, put the hocks in a saucepan and cover with water. Add about half a cup of chopped onion, and about the same amount of carrots cut into small slivers. Bring to a boil and simmer for about two hours. The recipe can be made any time in advance, and reheated when needed.
Now remove the hocks, and pour the stock into a large pot where you have put the drained soaked limas. Add enough water to cover, but not an excessive amount. The hocks will be found to have small nuggets of meat, which should be chopped up and added to the pot. There will not be much. Simmer until the beans are just done, which can only be told by actually tasting a bean. This will take about 40 minutes, more or less, and the beans must not be overcooked, or they will become mush. They will cook a little more as the leftover beans are reheated, and you will have leftovers unless you have a family. Add salt to taste at this time.
The beans are good with corn bread and butter. Jiffy corn muffin mix, available in the U.S., is very convenient, and inexpensive. An egg and a little milk is all that is necessary besides. A pat of butter on the serving of beans is also a nice touch. It all becomes a complete and balanced meal.
Composed by J. B. Calvert
Created 10 August 2002