Thursday morning, I needed to make soup. My mind was elsewhere – thinking about the night before, the harrowing weather threats, the storms that missed our part of town and fretting about those who weren’t so lucky. The devastation that happened in Alabama, Tennessee and the northern parts of Georgia was weighing on me. Thinking about those I know – in real life and those that I’ve met through this blog – and hoping everyone came out unscathed…and looking for ways to help those that didn’t. Before you read me raving about this soup, please visit the American Red Cross and help how you can. There are also many, many displaced and lost animals due to the storms – you can find more information about what’s needed to help them here.
So as is often the case, when my brain is stirring, I end up at the stove stirring soup. I’ve had this bag of frozen lima beans in my freezer for a few weeks. An impulse purchase at the market, basically. I’ve been wanting to make a lima bean soup but didn’t know where to start and I can’t say I’d ever had one to use as a basis. Like so many soups and how they come about, I throw it all in a pot and boil it all together and see what happens. Adding some of the fresh herbs I have growing on the deck at the house, I thought a fresh note would be awesome here – I love basil with other kinds of beans and legumes…why not lima beans? I can say that this is possibly my favorite soup I’ve ever made – it’s so rich and flavorful without any cream or milk. This is also such a versatile soup recipe. While I ate mine straight up plain with a sandwich I was working on the recipe for, you could top this with croutons, breadcrumbs or (for those of you into the pig products) a little crumbled bacon.
Lima Bean Bisque – serves 4 to 6 as a hearty soup course or light entree
– In a large stock or soup pot, melt the butter on medium heat. When melted, add in the chopped onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes until they start to become translucent (but not brown). Add in the chopped celery and saute for an additional 3 to 4 minutes until the celery starts to soften. Place the lima beans in the pot and stir to combine with the onions and celery. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add the red chili flakes and thyme sprigs then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the hard thyme stems (the leaves will have fallen off the stem at this point), stir in the chopped basil and parsley and allow to cool. Once cool, puree the soup in batches. Return to soup pot and reheat, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. If you’d like the soup a little thinner, a splash of water or broth at the reheating stage should loosen it up to your desired texture – just remember to taste and adjust the seasoning if you thin the soup out. Once heated through, serve immediately. This soup keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days.