I first came across Christmas lima beans while shopping at a farmer's market in Tucson, Arizona. The Native Seeds Search was selling them along with many other beans and grains. I was drawn to their red and white color immediately and decided to bring them home to New York to cook with them. Christmas lima beans were popular in the South during the mid-19th century and have only recently resurfaced with the help of heirloom bean growers around the country. They have subsequently become one of my favorite beans. Though they can be difficult to find, I have been able to order them online and find them at specialty markets. Beet salad or marinated brassicas or beets and tangerines would make a nice starter or side to this stew.
Any variety of bean will work for this stew, such as a kidney, pinto or other lima bean.
½ lb pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 c Christmas lima beans, cooked
1 medium yellow onion, trimmed and diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, trimmed and diced
1 large red pepper, trimmed and diced
1 small waxy potato, peeled and diced
½ c corn, fresh or frozen
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ c beer
2 c stock
salt and pepper
1. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven, or similarly heavy pan, over medium heat. Add pork, brown each side, remove pork from pan and set aside.
2. Keeping pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Add the potato and fry until golden brown. Next, add onion, carrot, pepper and celery, sautéing until translucent. Add cumin, chili and garlic and continue sautéing until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add beer to the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Return the browned pork to the Dutch oven, add cooked beans and return ingredients to a simmer. Once simmering, add stock, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until pork is tender, about 20 minutes. Add additional water if necessary to maintain cooking liquid.
4. Once pork is tender, remove stew from heat, add corn and water if necessary. Cover and set for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Serve warm with sour cream and cilantro or toppings of choice.