Lima beans in a roux: the kind of bedrock, basic bayou Cajun home cooking rarely seen in cookbooks. In fact, “stuff in a roux” might constitute an entire category of bayou Cajun home cooking. Aside from tiny, baby green limas, petits pois (young green peas) commonly receive this treatment as well.
Limas in a roux often serve as a vegetable-centric main dish, spooned over rice, though the dish is equally suitable as a substantial side. Of course, rice is involved. Did you really think “stuff in a roux” could be served without rice? Sliced smoked sausage, diced ham, or chicken can be added to bump up the protein content.
This is my sister’s version of the classic dish; note the use of roux in a jar. The Savoie’s brand dark roux is cholesterol- and trans-fat free, and it is a beautiful, dark chocolate brown. She works full-time, but she manages to feed her family home-cooked meals most nights every week. A shortcut like jarred roux shaves prep time off of traditional Cajun favorites–a good reminder that cooking isn’t always about “hobbyist perfection” or an idealized past. Sometimes, it’s about expediency and feeding family. When tradition and expediency can co-exist, it’s a good thing.
Lima beans in a roux
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 3-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 6-8 cups of water
- 1/2 cup jarred roux (dark brown)
- 32 ounces fresh or frozen baby green lima beans*
- salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- optional: chopped green onion tops and/or chopped fresh parsley
In a large saucepan, brown chopped onion in oil until dark brown. Be patient–the deeply caramelized onions are key to flavor in this dish. Once onions reach desired color, add garlic and briefly saute until fragrant. Add 6 cups water and roux, stirring vigorously to combine. Add lima beans, salt, and pepper. If needed, add additional water to ensure limas are completely submerged. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are very soft and liquid is thickened. Add optional chopped green onion and fresh parsley; simmer an addition 5 minutes before serving over hot cooked rice.
*Frozen or canned petits pois can be substituted for the lima beans. Petits pois require a significantly shorter cooking time; use just enough water to cover the peas and increase amount of jarred roux to 3/4 cup. And if the thought of roux-peas doesn’t make you giggle, then you’re not from Bayou Lafourche. Maybe someone will post a comment explaining the joke….