Miss Magnolia Battle’s Southern-Style Butter Beans
My Grandmother Nan’s given name is Magnolia Battle. Doesn’t that just ooze character and charm? Believe me; she lived up to her name. There was just something about the creaminess of the butter bean after Nan cooked it. The smell and the flavors just take me way back to our kitchen on Valance Street.
Serves 6 to 8
1 (16-ounce) package dried butter beans
1 cup chopped onion
4 tablespoons butter
8 ounces pickled meat, cut into chunks
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Rinse and soak beans, covered, for about 4 hours in the refrigerator. Or overnight, if possible.
In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, sauté onion in butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Drain beans. Add pickled meat and beans. Combine vegetable and chicken stocks in a pitcher. Add enough combined stock to cover the beans and add bay leaf.
Bring the beans to a slow boil, reduce heat, and simmer. Cover pot loosely. Check every 15 minutes to add stock to just cover the beans. Resist the urge to stir the beans as it will cause the tender beans to split apart. Continue to check the liquid level and cook for about 1 1⁄2 hours. Season with salt and continue to simmer until beans are tender, about an additional 30 minutes.
Gently remove beans to a serving dish and discard meat. Season with salt and pepper, gently stirring, and serve.
Tips & Suggestions
Find that fine line of stirring to keep the beans from sticking but not over-stirring to the point where the tender bean falls apart. I really don’t mind if the butter beans split apart a little bit. That just adds to the creaminess. Find the balance that works for you.