Spicy Lima Bean and Lentil Stew with Pork

I told you the other day that my dad used to make the best Lima beans and ham hock stew.  Simple ingredients, simmering all day, and so good.  One of my favorite meals as a kid, for some reason, a pot of beans, an onion, a ham bone covered in water and simmered for hours does magical things.  Unfortunately, I neglected to thaw the ham bone I had in the freezer but I was determined to use the Lima beans I picked up at the store today.  And, after finding country style boneless pork ribs in the reduced to sell area, I decided to make a variation of something using the Lima beans and the pork.

Lima bean haters out there, I encourage you to try them in a soup.  They lose that chalky consistency and really provide wonderful flavor.  I spiced up this whole pot by adding some smoky chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (from the can) and since I didn’t have ham, I started out with bacon as the fat to bring in some addition smoke flavor.  That is the only fat I added to the pot.  At the end, my soup was a little runny for my taste, so I added a cup of lentils and simmered another forty minutes and let it become stew.  The results, a huge pot of incredibly flavorful pork and bean with a healthy kick of spice.  This recipe would feed six hungry folks with cost estimates as follows:

2 lbs of pork on clearance  – $4.95
1 Lb dry Lima beans, the large variety  (I prefer baby Lima’s but they didn’t have them)  $1.29

Lentils $.50 for 1/2 pound in bulk
Large yellow onion – $.50
Two Stalks celery – $.25
Chipotle Chilies – $.50
White Wine – $1.00 – yes i used a cheap one…
Carrots $.50
49 Ounce can Chicken Broth $2.39 at Smart and Final
Worcestershire $.10
Bacon $1.00
Various herbs – free (i grow them) or probably $.50 of dry ones
Total  $12.98 for six big servings

Such a bargain!  Here’s the recipe

Spicy Lima Bean and Lentil Stew with Pork
by Debra Crawford
Serves 6

4 – Strips Maple Smoked Bacon, diced. You can use regular smoked, but i like a little sweetness from the maple
2 – Lb lean Boneless Pork meat, such as country style ribs, or stew meat or shoulder trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
1 – Lb Bag Dry Lima Beans (large or baby variety) picked over and rinsed
1 – Cup Dry Lentils – green variety, picked over and rinsed
2 – Large Stalks Celery, chopped
1 – Large Yellow Onion, chopped (3 cups)
3 – Large Carrots, chopped
4 – Chipotle Chilis – canned in adobo sauce.  The remainder will keep a long time in the fridge, just cover it well.  Note – if you don’t like it fairly spicy cut back on the chilies, or add a couple more if you like it very spicy.
1 – Cup White Wine
1 – 49 Ounce can Chicken Broth
1- Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 – Teaspoons fresh minced Rosemary
1 – Teaspoon dried Thyme or 2 tsp fresh minced Thyme
Salt and pepper

Add bacon to a cold large, (minimum 6 – 8 quart) heavy gauge soup pot.  Turn on heat and cook bacon slowly, rendering out the fat.  When bacon has cooked through and there is a good amount of fat in the pot, turn up the heat to medium-high and add the pork.  Salt and pepper with approximately 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Lightly brown the pork in the bacon fat.

Add the onion and celery and saute about 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.  De glaze the pan with 1 cup of white wine, scrapping up brown bits.

Add the chilies, rosemary, thyme, chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir and then add the Lima beans , carrots and 6 cups of water.  It will be very watery, but Limas will absorb a lot of it as will the lentils. Heat to boiling then reduce to simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours.  Add 1 cup lentils, stir and simmer on low 1 hour more.  You should have a good consistency of stew and broth for dipping bread, however, it the stew isn’t thick enough for you, stir thoroughly to break up some of the Limas which naturally thickens the broth, then remove the pot lid, bring up the heat to medium and reduce to desired consistency, while stirring frequently.

Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty bread.  Enjoy!

Before simmering
After simmering, thickening up nicely
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