It's snowing at our house. Third winter storm in five days. Old Man Winter shouldn't try to be such an overachiever. He should retire the Caribbean. Or at least get out of my yard!
But all this bad weather does give us time to enjoy the slow cooker. As you probably know, our big slow cooker book is out in just a few weeks. You can order a copy here--every recipe sized for every size of slow cooker. You got a two-quart? We got you covered. You got a Baptist social-sized 8 quart? We're on it. Sort of a marvel of culinary innovation, no?
Well, books aside (is that possible?), winter's got us house-bound. So we're enjoying hearty soups like this one, stocked to the brim with great, healthy fare that'll chase off any doldrums. Soak those dried lima beans and then give this soup a try this Sunday when you want to slow down in front of the fire with a good book. You might even wish Old Man Winter would stick around longer. No promises, but the soup's really good.
- 1 pound dried lima beans
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless smoked ham, chopped
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
- 8 cups packed, stemmed, washed, and chopped collard greens (about 1 pound)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Bottled hot red pepper sauce, for garnish
1. Place the dried limas in a large bowl and add enough water so that they're submerged by at least 2 inches. Set aside to soak overnight, for 12 hours or up to 18 hours.
2. Drain the lima beans in a colander set in the sink; pour them into a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker. Mix in the ham, onion, garlic, thyme, sage, allspice, salt, and pepper. Pour in the broth and stir well.
3. Lay the collard greens on top of the stew without stirring them in. Press down with a wooden spoon to add more until you get them into the cooker and the lid will fit on top. Sprinkle them with the vinegar, then cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
4. Stir the collards into the soup. The soup will keep well on warm for up to 3 hours. Garnish the bowlfuls with dashes of hot red pepper sauce, as desired.
1. To simplify this recipe, you can sometimes find bagged, chopped, and washed collard greens at the supermarket near the other leafy greens or even in the bagged salad section.
2. After testing so many recipes for our new book, we found the best way to maintain some texture in the collards (and avoid their turning squishy) is to cook them on top of the soup (as much as possible), letting them slowly condense into it.