Limas and Ham

Anyone who grew up eating dinners that featured the Birdseye frozen vegetable medley like I did have no doubt ended up with a serious hate on for lima beans. I know I did. Then during the winter that is coming to a close, my counterpart introduced me to the dried variety that you cook at home however you damn well please. And, in fact, he cooked them in a cassoulet and they were excellent. The difference  between the sad little limas in the Birdseye bag and the ones you cook at home is as stark as the difference between the equally dismal corn in that medley and fresh corn on the cob.

Ham with Limas

This being Easter Sunday, we joined a majority of the Western world and baked a ham - a ham that ended up nestled in a generous bed of large, succulent Jack Rabbit limas, cooked to perfection.

For our ham, Gareth made a quick spicy-sweet glaze on the stovetop out of butter, olive oil, brown sugar, and heavy cream with a little sriracha and a splash of habanero sauce. He seasoned it with a collection of nice earthy spices - a little each of nutmeg, cinnamon, thyme, sage, allspice, and mustard. The resulting sauce was first sticky-sweet and hot with the earthiness rising as the initial flavors receded. He coated the small half-ham generously with the glaze, then placed it on a rake in a heavy baking pan to cook at 350 for a few hours. while he prepared the beans.

Ham, glazed and ready for the oven

If you have a Korean rice maker, this is perfect for cooking beans, even it (like ours) the only thing not in Korean is the Quick Start button. It's actually a very effective pressure cooker. Three times on the 20-minute quick-cook setting, adding water in between each, gives you tender, moist beans. This is how we cooked our unseasoned limas while the ham was in the oven.

Once the beans were cooked, Gareth transferred them to a large pot. He pulled the ham from the oven and nestled it in the bed of limas. He then mixed the drippings with a little can of

Goya tomato

and poured it all over the ham and beans in the new pot, and cooked everything together cassoulet-style for about another 30 minutes. The limas continued to break down, allowing them to suck up all the ham fat and glaze, resulting in a pork and beans dinner our grandparents would be proud of.

Dinner is served