In my continuing search for new ingredients, I've been hitting the dried beans recently. The cannelinis were a big success, and so for this week I picked up a bag of Christmas Lima Beans, also known as Chestnut Lima Beans. These are really pretty heirloom beans--I had to set aside a few to photograph, and I don't know whether to save them or plant them.
To prepare them, I decided to go with succotash, a traditional Native American pairing of lima beans with corn. After soaking the beans overnight, I minced a shallot and some garlic and cooked them in some diced salt pork. I tossed in the beans, added chicken broth and some water to cover, a bunch of thawed frozen corn kernels, and let it simmer until tender.
I've mentioned before my quest for the perfect pork chop--I've had a couple in my life that were moist and tender and full of flavor, but have had little luck replicating this at home or finding such a specimen in restaurants. I used Alton Brown's brining recipe, but I didn't stuff or grill the chops. Rather I brined them, cooked them for five minutes on each side in a hot stainless steel skillet, and them finished them in the oven at 400° for about 15 minutes. I deglazed the skillet with some beef broth, added in red wine and Dijon mustard, about a half cup of dried cherries, and finally a little flour to thicken. I let this reduce to a smooth consistency while the meat rested.
Lovely combinations all around. The meat was almost perfect, and the beans were so savory and rich that I completely forgot to dash a little hot sauce on them. The chestnut flavor really does come through, and though the colors aren't spectacular in the above photo, it was a great winter meal.
The wine selected for the evening's meal was the 2002 Colimoro Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, a great little wine that ran about $9. The cherry aromas and flavors matched well with the sauce, and an hour of decanting time made it nice and smooth.