Cornbread & Butter Beans & You Across the Table...
...eatin' beans and makin' love as long as we are able." - Carolina Chocolate Drops, video below. The above tune is a catchy one. On autoplay in my mom's head last week, she wanted to build a meal around it. Is it obvious now where I get my propensity to create odd theme dinners?
We added a line from another CCD song, Knockin', to round out dinner: "Chicken in the fridge, half a bottle of wine, sit and eat your fill, then give me some of mine."
Alex fried chicken, Dad made the cornbread, we all drank a half a bottle of wine, and I cooked butter beans.
The all-knowing-Internet tells me that butter beans are lima beans, though a true southerner might correct me. I could only find dried limas at the market so that's what I used.
Beans stewed low and slow with onion, herbs, and pork fat is no new thing to my family. What amazed us was that cornbread and butter beans is more than a fine lyric - it's a well-matched set of sides. The savory melds with sweet and the buttery bean texture offsets the crunchy cornbread.
Cornbread and butter beans is a combination that will most definitely be repeated often, like a great song stuck in your head.
Butter Beans Makes: 12 large side-dish servings Time: 24 hours, active cooking 60 minutes
3 cups dried butter (lima) beans 1 tablespoon bacon fat 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 large sweet onion, diced 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced 1 large handful fresh oregano, washed and minced or 1 tablespoon dried oregano 4 stalks fresh thyme, leaves washed and minced or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 2 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon soy sauce 3 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder 20 grinds of fresh black pepper 2-3 bay leaves 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1. Wash beans. Cover with 4 inches of water and soak overnight. 2. Twelve hours later, heat a skillet. Add bacon fat, butter, and onions. Cook until onions are translucent. 3. Add onions to beans. Stir in all ingredients other than lemon juice and cover with additional water as necessary. 4. Heat in a crock pot on low for 10 hours or until beans are tender and liquid is absorbed. If you are close to serving time and the beans are too liquidy, simmer on stove top to boil off some water. 5. Adjust salt and add lemon juice. Remove bay leaves. 6. Puree beans for 30 seconds with immersion blender for buttery texture. 7. Serve hot with cornbread.
NB. An appropriate dessert would be the Carolina Chocolate Drop cookie I created last year.