These gorgeous huge beans are about one and one-quarter inches long and look like big carnelians with cream-colored markings. They have a creamy texture and a rich flavor reminiscent of chestnuts. Lima beans never did much for me until I learned about Christmas Lima beans from Rancho Gordo. In his great book, The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Grower’s Guide, Steve Sando writes that it is thought that this bean originated in Peru and after it migrated to Italy it was called Fagiolo di Papa or the Pope’s bean. SlowFoodUSA/Ark of Taste states that this bean was introduced into the U.S. in the 1840’s and was especially popular in the Southwest. It is sometimes called Speckled Calico Lima or the Chestnut Lima. When they are cooked the vibrant red and cream markings mellow to a light and dark red brown. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ENTIRE ARTICLE
This earthy soup is very satisfying. It is especially satisfying when the weather turns colder and you want something to warm you. Here potatoes and rutabaga, which provide some depth to the flavor of the soup, are cooked in the stock and then pureed. To maximize the flavor of the mushrooms, they and the onions are sauteed with wine before being added to the soup.
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This vegetable soup with kale, Ribollita, is one of a number of thick soups from Italy served with a slice of bread in the bottom of the bowl. It has no additional pasta or rice. The name Ribollita means reboiled. Traditionally the soup was made by heating leftover vegetable soup in an earthenware pot in the oven. This recipe was inspired by the comprehensive Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon, Phaidon Press, 2005. As with most plant-based recipes, the method of cooking the vegetables is crucial to obtaining the deepest, richest flavor for the dish. In this recipe, some of the vegetables are sautéed in wine before they go into the stock. These caramelized vegetables provide a contrast with the sharper kale and tomatoes in the stock.