I grew up eating Butterbeans.
not Madagascar Beans...
Butterbeans are what baby limas and Fort Hook Limas become when they grow up... and yes, I know they're all the same thing... generally.
Once fully matured and the pod pales and toughens, limas turn a wonderful creamy white with a slightly tough slip skin. The starches do a little dance and when cooked, transform the lowly lima into something spectacularly smooth and creamy... like buddah.
My grandmother always grew them and frequently during the summer there would be stacks of Winn Dixie brown paper grocery sacks on the porch waiting patiently on nimble young hands to zipper open the pods and coax out the thumb-sized beans. Those, unfortunately, are most of my memories of my grandmother's house... shelling speckled beans, stringing pole beans, shucking corn.... and wrinkled fingers.
Making the rounds this week, we made it a point to check in with the Tomato House out on HWY 52 towards Cleveland. They've become my favorite produce stop and I love giving them my business. The Tomato House has begun the arduous task of moving the shop to their new shiny store in the abandoned "Field of Dreams" location. Currently, they only have the garden shop and some of the canned goods, but over the next year or so, the entire store will be housed in the new digs. In the meantime, it's made getting around in the original location supremely less claustrophobic, and you aren't doing the butt-cheek kiss getting around other shoppers.
It's kind of bittersweet - I do look forward to the produce shop being in air conditioned, well lit, uncluttered
surroundings... but cramped, low ceilings, and cobbled shelving is kind of what gives the "House" it's charm.
I really do hope they can retain a little of that vibe.
This week's haul:
Local Plum and Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes
a handful of fresh Peaches
and... of course, Butterbeans!
Butterbeans - like many other white beans - are interchangeable. They can be used just as you would cannellini or navy beans. So, for simpleness sake, we're doing Butterbean Soup with Sausage
Butterbean Soup with Polish Sausage
Serves 4 to 6
4 Cups Cooked Butterbeans - (the best bet is to pressure cook them to avoid the overnight soaking. To pressure cook the beans - place dried (or mature) beans in the cooker with 4 cups water, 2 strips bacon, salt and pepper - seal and bring to a boil. Once it whistles, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 45 minutes. Relieve the pressure and drain)
1 Link (or 2 Cups Sliced) Turkey Polish Sausage (I know... I never thought I'd recommend buying turkey sausage to anyone - but since it's being cooked in a soup, you wont know the difference.)
1 Cup Shredded Cabbage
1/4 Cup Diced Onion
4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Stock Pot with Lid
- Divide the beans in half
- In the stock pot, add 1/2 the beans, the stock and bring to a boil
- Reduce to medium, and puree until smooth
- Add the remainder of the beans, the sausage, cabbage and onions and cook (covered) until the cabbage is tender (about 20 minutes)
- Check seasoning for salt and pepper - remove from the heat