It´s a warm and sunny day in Lima, and here I am, having lunch in one of the most beautiful restaurants along the shore: Costa Verde. I already had a refreshing cebiche as an appetizer, and sipped an icy cold chicha morada. While watching the majestic Pacific Ocean in front of me, and the cliffs next to it, I wait for the second course: a warm and creamy Lima bean purée, with rice and some lomo saltadoon the side. This has been a long time recommendation of the owner, Raúl Modenesi, a swimming champion and one of the most important restaurateurs of the country. They really are masters at making this dish in his legendary restaurant.
Despite not being the most typical way of eating it, the smokiness of the lomo saltado, together with the silky purée, whose flavor has been enhanced by four different cheeses, is a wonderful combination that I always enjoy when I visit this place. I´m sure that pork, chicken, duck, or even turkey, would also be perfect companions and enhancers of this already delicious-on-it’s-own, simple entreé. The usual way of eating it at home? Two tasty fried eggs and a crunchy and spicy salsa criolla.
To properly cook Lima beans you must soak them first in fresh water, for several hours. I always have done this overnight, draining them in the morning, and peeling them with a light pressure of my fingers. The peels will slip easily at once. Discard the peels and start cooking the beans in cold water. Some friends love to add pork pieces to the cooking pot, but I prefer mine to be just beans, with onion, garlic and some herbs. I don´t see the need to add more ingredients, because to me, Lima beans are flavorful enough as they are.
Pureeing legumes this way, and adding cheese to them, letting it completely melt and dissolve into the purée, (like they do at Costa Verde) is a great way to get kids to eat this healthy food. This way it tastes and feels similar to other things they’re used to eating, and love (like mashed potatoes). You can see in the pictures, the difference in color between the plain version, and the cheesy version of this dish. You decide what you like the best. Whichever way, if you are a fan of beans like I am, you will love this!
- 1 lb dried Lima beans
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- The previous night, soak Lima beans in water, or at least for 4-5 hours.
- Drain and peel, discarding the peels. Cook the beans in a pot of water with the thyme sprig until tender or mushy.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan heat the vegetable oil and cook onion and garlic until very tender. Add tomato and continue cooking over medium high heat. Add to the pot with the Lima beans, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until very creamy. If you want a silky texture, use an immersion blender or pass everything through a food mill. Season with salt and pepper.
- Optional: Add grated cheese of your choice (Gouda, Edam, etc.)
- Serve with white rice.