Pork neck bones simmer and transform into tender meat falling gingerly off the bone alongside lime green lima beans. It's a Southern soul food specialty, a bone broth with beans, if you will.
*If you can’t find pork neck bones, use beef short ribs. Won’t taste exactly the same as pork is used in the original recipe but it’s a close cousin.
*You can use canned or even fresh lima beans if you like. If using canned, drain the beans and rinse well before adding to neck bones. If fresh, soak overnight and then cover with water and cook in a separate pot on low heat until tender, about an hour before adding in to neck bones.
Heat canola oil in a dutch oven, or other sized deep pot, over medium-high heat. Sear the pork bones until brown, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
Toss in diced onions and let cook until translucent and aromatic, roughly 3 to 4 minutes. Add in garlic, stirring into onions, and cook for an additional minute. Season the onion and garlic mixture with the sage, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Stir to blend.
Add neck bones to the onion and garlic mixture, sprinkling in a more salt and pepper to season the neck bones. Pour in enough water to submerge the neck bones by at least an inch, around 6 cups of water. Let boil for 15 minutes then skim any foam from the surface using a ladle. Turn down heat to low and cover the pot. Let the neck bones cook until tender and falling off the bone, about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Check the meat and stir often to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan and adding more water if it gets dry.
During the last 15 minutes of cooking time, add lima beans to pot and stir to mix well. Once neck bones meat is tender and falling off the bone, stir and taste for salt and pepper. Adjust accordingly. Serve the meat and beans with white rice or skillet cornbread.