Make Ahead

Heirloom Bean and Mushroom Stew

April  9, 2011
Author Notes

This rich vegetarian stew features plump Christmas limas, portobello and shiitake mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and fresh herbs. It’s hard to believe something so simple could be so incredibly good – my dinner guests were still raving about it the next day. I served it on soft polenta, but it would also be delicious on its own with just some crusty bread.

If your only impression of lima beans is those boring little green things your parents forced you to eat as a kid, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Christmas limas are a whole different animal – they’re huge and taste a bit like chestnuts. - cathyeats

Test Kitchen Notes

The combination of mushrooms, onions, garlic and red wine has always been a favorite of mine and cathyeats' Heirloom Bean and Mushroom Stew takes it one step further with the welcome addition of Christmas Lima beans. The big, chestnutty flavored beans were a lovely complement to the earthy flavors of the portobello and shitake mushrooms and more than stood up to the robust red wine and tomato sauce. The only thing I would do differently next time is to soak the beans before cooking them; it took almost 2 1/2 hours and a lot of added water for them to become tender. I served it, as she did, with soft polenta and it was delightful but I could also see serving it atop pasta or just with some crusty rolls to mop up the sauce. - wssmom

  • Serves 4-6
  • 1 pound Christmas lima beans
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 6 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes in puree
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup reserved bean cooking liquid
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with water by about two inches.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the beans are tender (Christmas limas can take up to two hours.) Drain, reserving one half cup of cooking liquid.
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in another dutch oven or very deep skillet.
  4. Add the onions and garlic, and saute for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms and thyme, raise the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the tomatoes including the puree, crushing the tomatoes with your hands and discarding the hard stem ends.
  7. Add the wine, bean cooking liquid, parsley, salt and pepper. Gently stir in the beans.
  8. Simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes.
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