Last summer was my first attempt to create my own vegetable garden. The few kinds of vegetable seeds I planted yielded only a generous harvest of summer squash and Lima beans that grew with very little maintenance. I used them mostly in soups for the cold weather.
Dried beans in general are a non-perishable food so you can store them for a longer period of time and use as a “survival food” when bad weather doesn’t allow you to get out of the house or you forgot to do your grocery shopping. When I opened my pantry yesterday, I found some Lima beans and thought about a simple Romanian traditional dish called Fasole batuta (translated as “Beaten beans” from the the mashing action that takes place). Some people call it a “dip” depending on its “creamy” consistency. I find “Mashed Beans” to be a more appropriate translation.
It is healthy, economical, and an idea for a vegetarian dish. You may use any type of dried beans. I prefer Lima beans because the end product has a nice orange color given by the carrots. The size of the beans doesn’t really matter since they will get mashed anyway. There are 5 simple steps to follow:
Step 1: In a pot, place about 12 oz. dried Lima Beans, a medium onion cut in quarters, a few cloves of garlic cut in small pieces, and one large or two medium carrots cut in pieces as well. Sprinkle with salt. The more carrots you add the brighter the orange color will be in the end. Add water, approximately two inches above the vegetables level. Cover the pot half way and boil everything at low to medium heat until all vegetables are well cooked (for at least 40 minutes). Taste afterwards to see if you need to boil them for longer.
Step 2: Drain the liquid and set aside. Mash all the vegetables in the pot until you get a creamy mixture. You may need to add some more liquid gradually if you notice that the mixture is too hard. An electric mixer makes the job easier.
Step 3: When everything is completely mashed, add a couple of minced fresh garlic cloves.
Step 4: In a frying pan, sauté a medium size chopped onion in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until the onion becomes brown but not burnt.
Step 5: Whisk the sautéed onion together with the oil into the beans mixture until all ingredients get blended together. Keep in mind that cooked beans suck up oil pretty fast. You may need to add some more oil gradually to maintain the creamy consistency of the mixture. You should not show extra oil or feel its taste. Serve warm on individual plates with crackers, toast, or favorite bread. Short, sweet, and simple!
Pofta buna! in Romanian translated as “wishing you a good appetite”