Christmas Lima beans
have a buttery flavor and creamy texture and tend to become mushy if
Sometimes called Chestnut Lima or
Large Speckled Lima beans.
Both the large and the small limas
are New World beans. Native to the high plains in Peruvian Andes, the large limas can
trace their heritage back to about 1500 BC, when they were named after the
capital of that country (Lima,Peru).
The plant and bean where initially cataloged and named in 1837 on the
island of Jamaica. They became popular during the 1840’s and steadily
declined in popularity. Today, they are rare, yet sought after.
Christmas Limas (Phaseolus Limensis) are related to
the lima bean, similar to the giant Peruvian Lima but plumper. This is a
large bean with a maroon pattern over a creamy background. The
Christmas Lima may be referred to as a speckled lima or butter bean in
addition to a calico bean.
The bean is 7/8 long and maintains its markings
after cooking. The Christmas Lima is an heirloom bean, which means the
bean was handed down within a small community for several generations.
bean's chestnut flavor combined with its festive coloring are the reason
for the name Christmas Lima.
Warm Christmas Lima and Shiitake
1 cup dried Christmas Lima
beans, soaked if desired
Sea salt and black
1 small head romaine lettuce
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons finely torn basil leaves
Yield: 4 servings
Place the beans in a saucepan, cover them with water to a depth of 2
inches, bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until beans are
tender, about 1 hour if soaked, 1-1/2 hours if unsoaked. Drain beans and
season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside, covered to keep warm.
Rinse, dry and remove stems from romaine; divide among 4 plates.
the mushrooms caps in strips about 1/2-inch wide. Heat 5 tablespoons of
the oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté over
medium heat until mushrooms are tender. Stir in tomatoes. Continue cooking
for about 5 minutes, until tomatoes have softened. Fold in the beans,
balsamic vinegar and basil. Again season to taste with salt and pepper and
remove from heat.
Spoon the warm bean-and-mushroom mixture over the greens and drizzle with
remaining olive oil. Serve while still warm.