White Lima Bean Soup with Tomatoes and Thyme
Simple, homey and affordable, lima beans don’t have to be frozen green things out of a box. White dried limas are enjoyed through out Mediterrianean countries and known by many names: loubias in Greek cuisine is the direct inspiration in this example. I prefer to save good quality olive oil for adding last, drizzle into each bowl to preserve the flavor right before serving.
Not surprisingly this soup tastes even better the next day and will thicken substantially at that.
1 pound white beans, soaked overnight
8 cups vegetable broth or water
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
3 large springs of fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup grated fresh tomatoes or canned, strained tomatoes
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Additional dried oregano for sprinkling
1. Always sort dry beans on a countertop for debris before using. In a large bowl cover dry beans with 5 inches of water and let soak overnight or at least 8 hours. Beans will double in size and skins will become wrinkly; this is normal!
2. In a large stock pot combine beans, water, bay leaves, salt, garlic, onion, grated carrot, dried thyme and oregano. Over high heat bring to a rolling boil, skimming off and discarding any large clouds of foam that may form. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are very tender and easy mash when bitten.
3. Stir in tomatoes and lemon juice and simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt and freshly ground pepper if desired. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Ladle into individual bowls and drizzle with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil as desired and crush a pinch or two of dried oregano over each serving. This soup will thicken and taste more balanced the following day.