A blind date. You’re fixing up a guy friend of yours. Guys will usually ask what a girl looks like. And, if the girl’s looks are not a real virtue, you might say, ‘Oh, she’s really nice and has a great personality!’ Some of my recipe creations are like this. Some dishes I prepare are just more glamorous than others…while others might not be as ‘pretty’ when photographed, they have great flavor and taste, aka, the food’s personality! These dishes can also be considered the slightly ugly step-sisters of the foodie world. My ‘Ricotta Baby Lima Bean & Ham Soup’ could fall into that category. While it’s not the most stunning looking (well, it could be me the photographer and food stylist), it’s flat out knock-down drag-out fabulous! Of course, beauty is always in the eyes of be beholder, so you decide!
What you need:
3 cups dried baby lima beans (rinsed and drained)
1 ham hock
1 tbl chopped garlic
4-6 cups water (used through the cooking process)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp red chili pepper flakes
24 ounces chicken broth
½ cup ricotta
1 cup diced ham (can be packaged diced meat)
What you do:
In a large heavy pot (i.e., dutch oven, cast iron pot) with a lid, combine the dried beans, ham hock, garlic and cover the beans with water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 45 minutes adding water as needed. Add cumin, pepper salt, chili pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium low, add some of the chicken broth, cover and continue to cook another 60 to 90 minutes checking occasionally to see if more broth needs to be added. Remove ham hock.
Beans should begin to get tender and the broth should start thickening. Add ricotta and blend in. This will help thicken and richen the beans. Reduce to low and cook another 45+ minutes. Add chopped ham and cook on simmer/low until ready to serve.
©Alice D’Antoni Phillips Ally’s Kitchen