Saturday, May 7, 2011

quick lima bean and pea stew

I get that there will be people who are disgusted with this stew. I don't understand it, but I know there are a good number of you out there who are anti-lima bean and/or anti-pea. Edwin and I are crazy about both, so I'll proceed.

We had a bit of a cold snap in Asheville this week, and Quick Lima Bean and Pea Stew* seemed like the perfect thing to cook.

I started by sauteeing some shallots in olive oil and butter. The recipe calls for 2 to 4 chopped anchovy fillets, which are optional, to be cooked along with the shallots. I used anchovy paste instead (how much do I love pastes in squeeze tubes?) so I added a squirt to the pot right before I added in the next batch of ingredients. I poured in some white wine, and then stirred in frozen lima beans and vegetable broth. I let that simmer until the beans were tender, and then I added the secret ingredient: shredded romaine lettuce, which Mark Bittman promised would "melt into the mixture, adding body and unexpected flavor." I also stirred in a bunch of chopped mint, some frozen peas, and salt and pepper. Once the lettuce started to disintegrate and the stew thickened (mine took about 5 minutes instead of the estimated 2), we were ready to eat.
At this point I was slightly concerned with my very green, very beany soup and its 1/2 cup chopped mint plus anchovy paste combo.

I needn't have worried. I LOVED this soup. I honestly can't remember Edwin's comments about it because I was raving so much. I know he liked it, but I'm not sure he thought it was revelatory. But people. It was a revelation. Mint and anchovies and limas and peas and lettuce are magic.
I should have doubled the recipe so we'd get more than 4 bowls of it.

*Bittman, Mark. The Food Matters Cookbook. "Quick Lima Bean and Pea Stew." p. 358-9.

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