Beans "Pope's coins" (Christmas Lima beans)
- 125 g / 4 oz. Christmas (or Chestnut) Lima beans (about 1 cup)
- 8 oz. cipollini onion (or other sweet onion), sliced into 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick half-moons
- olive oil
- several sprigs of fresh thyme
- sea salt and freshly milled black pepper, to taste
The way I cook beans for further use comes from "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison (Beans with Aromatics). Rinse beans well, then soak in 4 cups of water for 24 hours. Drain, place in a saucepan and add enough water to cover them by about one inch. Add a quarter of a large onion, halved, a bay leaf, a clove of garlic, quartered, and 3-4 sprigs of fresh parsley. Bring the water to a lively boil quickly, and keep it there for five minutes, then turn down the heat and let the beans simmer, covered, until they are ready. Note that these beans take quite a bit longer than smaller beans to cook. Taste them to assess when it is time to remove them from the heat. Let them cool in their broth, then remove the aromatics and discard them.
Oil a skillet and add onion and thyme leaves, and cook gently until onion is nice and soft. Add some broth, as needed, to keep the onion moist. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain beans and place in a bowl, add cooked onion, season appropriately, stir well and serve warm or at room temperature, with olive oil drizzled on top.