Butter Beans with Ham

Lima beans, or butter beans as they are known here in South Louisiana, are often cooked casserole-style with different smoked meats. This recipe, however, is from my grandmother and she preferred to cook butter beans slowly, cream-style.


  • 1 pound fresh butter beans
  • 1/2 cup shortening or bacon drippings
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup garlic, diced
  • 1/2 pound smoked ham, cubed
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Rinse beans, removing any that are hard or discolored. The beans will cook faster if they are soaked in cold water overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, rinse beans once again in cold water. In a 2-quart saucepot, melt shortening or bacon drippings over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and smoked ham. Sauté approximately 5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add ham hocks and cook 5 additional minutes. Add lima beans and enough cold water to cover beans by approximately 2 inches. Add green onions and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to simmer and allow to cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep vegetables from scorching. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, approximately 1 hour. Season to taste using salt and pepper. Using a metal spoon, mash approximately 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot to create a creaming effect. Garnish with parsley. Beans should be tender and of a butter consistency when ready to serve. Butter beans may be served on top of cooked white rice or as a side vegetable.

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