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One of my recent food discoveries has been the humble, but delicious, Lima Bean. I came across a recipe for pork sausages with white beans in Jane Price’s Dinner With Friends, which has some very fine recipes that bring restaurant fare to the home life and are relatively easy to make. It was the beans in the photograph that caught my eye, and so I decided to get some from my local wholefoods supplier, The Source, and give them a try. The beans require soaking for about 8 hours so a little advance planning is required, but they are well worth the effort. I was surprised by the delicate flavour and buttery texture of the beans, which married perfectly with the pork sausage. To add to their appeal, lima beans are an excellent source of iron and protein, and also have cholesterol lowering properties and the ability to stabilise blood sugar levels. I’m already thinking of other ways to use them, so stay tuned for more where these little gems come from.

Pork Sausages with Lima Beans + Thyme

350g dried white lima beans

6-8 pork sausages

1 white onion, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 green capsicum, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon paprika

3/4 cup tomato passata

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Soak the beans in cold water ahead of time for 8 hours or so. Drain and rinse, before placing them in a large saucepan with enough water to cover them by a couple of inches. Add the bay leaf, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat slightly and let them cook for 30 minutes or until they are soft. They should still retain a little bit of firmness, as you don’t want them to be too mushy. When cooked, drain the beans and remove the bay leaf.

Meanwhile, prick the sausages 5 or 6 times and lay in a separate pan. Add enough water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the sausages, then cook over a high heat until the water is reduced. At this point, let the sausages brown a little in the pan, then remove and set aside. Add the onion, capsicum and chilli flakes to the pan and cook over a low-medium heat for a few minutes until the onions are translucent and the capsicum has softened. Stir in the paprika, followed by the passata, cider vinegar and water. If you prefer the sauce to be a little thicker, just add less water. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the sausage and return to the pan with the other ingredients to heat for a minute or two.

To serve, divide the beans among your plates and place the sausage mixture over the top with a little fresh thyme and cracked pepper.

*Serves 4

(Adapted from Jane Price’s Pork Sausage with White Beans, in Dinner With Friends)