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Southern Culinary Arts: Dried Lima Beans and Ham

culinary arts

Welcome to my online cooking school. Today we'll be preparing a favorite of Southern culinary arts, dried beans and ham. But first, a little story about this Southern food.

My dad owned a grocery store and a gun shop, and sometimes when I was a kid, I’d help him in the grocery store. My job was to stack the groceries on the shelves. One day while I was putting some bags of dried beans out, I asked why Mom never cooked these. He explained to me that only poor people ate them – the ones who couldn’t afford meat. I accepted that explanation, and we never ate dried beans or peas in our house.

When I grew up, of course, I realized that lots of people ate dried beans because they liked them – including folks who could easily afford meat. Surprisingly, my ex-husband held the same attitude my father had toward the dried legumes, however, so I never cooked them. When I married my present husband, Johnny, however, things changed.

Dried beans and other legumes are good for you! Just one serving of dried lima beans has a whopping 9 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, and 15% of your daily iron requirement. All this for 120 calories – without the ham, of course. If you want to make this extra healthy, you can add ham flavoring instead of the real thing.

Johnny loves a big pot of lima beans or pinto beans. Of course, to keep him happy, I had to learn to cook these suckers. I did, but I never cultivated a taste for the pinto beans. I’ll eat them, but they’re far down on my list of favorite foods – right above sauerkraut. I like the dried lima beans better, and in fact, I’m cooking a pot of them as I type. Here’s my recipe, just for my online cooking school students:

What you’ll need:

One 20-ounce package large lima beans

Diced onion, to taste

Chunks of cured ham

Two cubes chicken bouillon

Salt and pepper, to taste


Wash beans and remove any bad ones. Place beans in a large pot and cover with water. Water should be twice as deep as the beans are in the pot. Place the lid on the pot and allow the beans to soak overnight.

The next morning, turn the beans on high. Add more water. When they start to boil, add the onion, the ham, and the chicken bouillon cubes. Unless you want a very low-fat version of this dish, add some ham that has fat on it. It will give the beans more flavor. Stir frequently. Boil for five minutes, and add the salt and pepper. Stir again.

Place the lid on the pot and let beans simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally. I like to cook my beans for a long time - until the juice is thick.

I’m making a skillet of cornbread and some rice to accompany the beans and ham. We like to spoon the beans over the rice.

This is a great way to use that ham you have left over from Easter or some other holiday! The beans are even better warmed up on the second day, so store leftovers in the refrigerator.

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Learn to make this great dish in my online cooking school!

Learn to make this great dish in my online cooking school!


Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 08, 2010:

Hi, Ethel! Thanks for visiting!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 08, 2010:

Shane, just call me "Mama Holle"!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 08, 2010:

Audrey, how many times has this happened now?? Really spooky!!

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on April 08, 2010:

Smashing info. I love beans and they are so healthy. Funny how times changes

Michael Shane from Gadsden, Alabama on April 07, 2010:

Looks like mama's cooking! Great recipe to share...

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on April 07, 2010:

Okay - things just get spookier and spookier - I did not make this recipe EXACTLY in my crockpot yesterday but I did make beans and ham with my leftover ham bone from the Easter ham. Sounds delicious and the power of beans (literally) cannot be minimized! Super recipe - I ended up using multiple kinds of beans in mine but sure either way it is a healthy winner.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 07, 2010:

Jen, it was great! I ate two bowls of beans.

JenDobson27 on April 07, 2010:

Sounds delicious, especially that side of cornbread!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 06, 2010:

Whatcha cooking, Pamela?

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 06, 2010:

Thanks for the kind words, HH!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 06, 2010:

Starme - girlfriend, I'm gonna have to mail you some real grits!!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 06, 2010:

Ictodd, good to see you!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on April 06, 2010:

Thanks, Bpop! I wondered if you only ate breakfast foods. lol

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 06, 2010:

This is one of our favorite meals. It made me know I need to go cook supper in a minute. Good hub.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on April 06, 2010:

I love baked beans or lentils and ham. You are a terrific cook. Thank you for your hub.

Destiny Rose on April 06, 2010:

I love lima beans and ham - and navy beans and ham :) another thumbs up for ya :) My mother in law is southern - she is from Georgia - now living in Oregon with me - she likes lentils and hot dogs - and grits - but we cant find real grits here - only instant - gonna have to have someone from down south send me some real grits :)

Linda Todd from Charleston on April 06, 2010:

I love Lima beans and yes dried beans are a source of what we need in our weekly meals...just read something on MSN about how good beans are in our diet. Thanks so much for the article.

breakfastpop on April 06, 2010:

I love beans and I love ham, so this sounds like a winner to me. Thanks, habee.

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