Lima's are one of my favorite beans. Might be because my Gram would always make a big pot with ham, and she always served them with yummy fried potatoes in an iron skillet...this is one of my favorite things to eat on a cold winters eve..
1Soak beans overnight however you like, I prefer the stove top/oven method (see Soaked and Cooked Tender Beans). Drain and put aside. Now if you are in a hurry, 4 -15 ounce cans will do, just be sure to rinse well.
2In a large stockpot, simmer the ham bone in the stock along with the bay leaves, thyme and oregano for at least a couple of hours, the longer the better. It is ready when the meat falls off. Remove bone and ham from the pot and place on a platter discarding the bone. When cool to touch, shred or tear the ham into bite size pieces. Put aside.
3In a skillet, fry the bacon until fully cooked. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add onion, celery, garlic and carrots to bacon grease and sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent. Remove vegetables with the slotted spoon and add to the stockpot.
4Add the limas, ham to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, bacon, salt and pepper to taste, and bring back to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. Reduce to a slow simmer; cover and cook on low for about 45 minutes or until beans are tender and begin to break down.
5I serve it with cornbread...mmmm!
6Soak and cook beans:
I prepare dried beans two ways. When I think ahead I cook them in a slow cooker overnight with seasonings, on a warm setting and then a few hours the next day on low. Or if I forget, I use the stove-top/oven method that does the same in a couple of hours. The oven seems to work better than using just the stove, making a faster, tender pot of beans. Here's how: cover the washed beans with about 2-inches of water in a dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add your seasonings and heat on the stove over high heat until the water just starts to simmer. Place in the oven and cook for 90 minutes. Stir and check the tenderness of the beans. If needed, cook another 15 minutes or until beans are tender for your recipe. Drain and you're ready to go.