Speckled Butter Beans

Butter beans with color…

… that’s the way I define speckled butter beans, I mean, with a color other than green. Now the taste is a lot different than the green variety, or at least I think so. The mottled brown legumes are a bit more earthy yet still brings about a creamy texture if cooked right.

We like these pole lima beans not only ’cause there darn right good, but they do well in our hot, humid southern climate.  Long vines stretching upwards on strings or stick poles, these bean plants produce hardy, large pods filled with a flavor not found in many parts of the states. Now if you ever see frozen speckled butter beans, by all means buy a bag and get to cooking. That is something I do during the winter months. Like many beans, these do well by cooking long and slow on the stove-top adding water as it cooks down.  The best thing about cooking these types of foods is the ‘pot-likker’ that you get and if cooked right, will be a seasoned, saucy almost gravy for cornbread mopping. Enjoy!

Speckled Butter Beans

1 pound shelled fresh speckled butter beans (about 3 cups), or butter beans, butter peas or limas (frozen will do too)
2 cups of chicken stock
1 ham hock, or 2 pieces of salt pork or bacon cooked
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small bay leaf
1 garlic pod
Salt and pepper to taste
couple pats of butter

Place the ham hock or other smoked meat into a medium saucepan along with the chicken stock, onion, bay leaf and garlic pod. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium low. Simmer for about 10 minutes and add the beans. Make sure the beans are covered with about an inch of liquid, if not, add more stock or water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return to a boil and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook slowly until the bean is creamy on the inside but not falling apart, about an hour or so.  I like to turn off the heat and let the beans rest in the hot liquid for a while as I go about finishing up other supper dishes. Add butter, stir and reheat the beans prior to serving.

SEE ALSO: cooking southern varieties of field peas, creamy, sweet and buttery Lady Peas, and another favorite, black-eyed peas or Hoppin’ John.

23 thoughts on “Speckled Butter Beans

  1. Cajun Chef Ryan

    Drick,Yot got it going on good here with this ole Southern favorite, love me some beans. Butter, lima, pole, red kidney, I tell you what…these butter beans look like some great eating!Wish I could just grab me a bowl right about now!Bon appetit!CCR=:~)

  2. MaryMoh

    I don't think I have seen these types of beans. It looks delicious and healthy….simple for me to cook, too πŸ˜€ Drick, hope you are almost done with your house. Maybe a good coffee will do you good….smile πŸ˜€

  3. Pierce

    Well that's a good ole southern side…looks delicious. I've been keeping up through Goggle reader but can't always get online later in the evening….love your posts πŸ™‚

  4. Trix

    I have been lucky enough to get fresh speckled butter beans the farmers market for the first time this year, and I am totally addicted to them!! Froze some for later … they are seriously one of my new favorite things. I love your Southern recipe for them, mmmm.

  5. Harolyn Callaham

    I was raised on fresh speckled butter but now use frozen or dried but have a real problem getting them cooked soft enough to eat. I cover them in water..bring to boil and cut down to low. It takes about 4 hours to cook and sometime I end up having to put in pressure cooker. This started about 2 years ago and before that it took about an hour. What can I do or what am I doing wrong?

  6. Drick

    @Harolyn Callaham – I am not sure I can answer this one, if you are doing the same thing as you did 2 years ago when things did cook correctly, then something else must have changed…. for dried beans, I have much luck using the crock pot over-nite method (see http://bit.ly/hlwZBU) and for fresh ones, simmering on low will normally bring them to soft stage within an hour… acid will certainly alter timing, like adding tomato will cause beans to almost never become tender… maybe another metallic or chemical reaction is happening that you have not thought about… thinking back, whenever this has happened to me, it is because of things like boiling too fast, not enough liquid, simple things that can easily be corrected, but if you are doing what you say, I just don't know… maybe someone else can help – and it would be good if you turned on your blogger status for contacting purposes

  7. drick perry

    @Anonymous – I sure wish I could but I don't know a lick about butterbeans in Melbourne… maybe my good friend at Jeroxie blog could as she is living there….

  8. artjones

    Ever since I ran across your blog and found the recipe for speckled butter beans – I have been trying to find them again. The first time I made them according to your directions – the whole family raved. I am so excited to have acquired some more again today.I have also cooked your pork wrapped in bacon. So Good! Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  9. buffy

    Oh my! What a treat. I saw a bag of these fresh beans at the farmers market and, although I didn't know what to do with them, I thought I'd try them out. Then I found this recipe. I'm going back to the farmers market tomorrow to get another couple of pounds of these. I might have to find a support group when they go out of season. Thanks for sharing.

  10. buffy

    OH MY! These were incredible. I had never prepared speckled butter beans before but saw them at the farmers market and wanted to give them a try. Now the whole family is hooked! I'm going back for more tomorrow. We'll have to find a support group with the season is over.


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