the saturday soup – lima bean bisque April 30, 2011

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

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter – if you want this to be a vegan recipe, use your preferred cooking oil instead of butter
  • 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cups frozen lima (also known as butter beans) beans, thawed and drained – I do this by running them under hot water until defrosted and allow them to drain in a colander while I do my other prep work
  • 5 cups good quality vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian/flat leaf parsley
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

– 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.


Miss T Apr 30, 2011 06:04 pm

What a stunning colour – this is on my list as the nights draw in closer here.
Hope all is well at your end. Thoughts as always to anyone caught in a natural disaster.
Trish x

Harold Apr 30, 2011 09:04 pm

Love the Limas, looks scrumptious I long to fix this for my kids and have them eat it :-)

Helene May 1, 2011 09:05 am

I love this idea of Lima Bean Bisque. They are Bill’s favorites and I never think of getting them (cultural difference) but I am learning! LOL!

DessertForTwo May 1, 2011 02:05 pm

I have half a bag of leftover lima beans from making 101cookbooks lima beans in chipotle broth. It was good, but I was craving something a little more creamy, like your recipe. Thanks for sharing this :)

I agree, I love to cook something low and slow on the stovetop when my mind is elsewhere. Often, I dump the bag of vegetable remnants (carrot peelings, onion skins, leftover herbs) into a pot of cool water and make stock slowly. It’s soul-soothing.

Glad y’all escaped ok.

merry jennifer May 1, 2011 04:05 pm

I’m a huge lima bean fan, and I also have a half bag of frozen limas in my fridge. You’re giving me a very good idea on what to do with them.

Maria @ Scandifoodie May 2, 2011 12:05 am

This is such a gorgeous looking soup and those lima beans are just perfect for it! Great recipe, I can’t wait to try this!

Kasey May 2, 2011 01:05 am

Watching the events unfold on Wednesday was harrowing. I was actually supposed to fly into Atlanta that day and canceled the trip last minute. Devastating to read about what happened in the rest of the South, but relieved to know friends in Atlanta were safe. The only way to move forward is to put one foot in front of the other, be grateful, humble and encouraging of others who were not so lucky. Sharing food helps too :)

Amelia from Z Tasty Life May 2, 2011 08:05 am

It’s good to have a bag of “fresh” frozen veggies from the market for stay-at-home emergenicies like tornadoes… Good call adding the vidalias: topographically perfect onion for this soup!
The bad swirls fortunately missed us too.

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Jessica May 5, 2011 03:05 am

My grandmother used to make a Lima Bean soup growing up that was amazing. She passed away a while ago and I never got the recipe. This sounds so incredibly close! I can not tell you how excited I am!

Amy May 5, 2011 11:05 pm

Oh my, how did I miss this one? I MUST make it asap. Lima’s are one of my favorites.

The Teacher Cooks May 6, 2011 09:05 am

I love baby lima beans or butter beans, but have never had a soup made from them. Sounds delicious.

Snippets of Thyme Oct 12, 2011 10:10 am

Yum.. I am about to post a split pea soup. We LOVE lima beans too so that would be a good one for sure…

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