Butter Beans in Cream with Country Ham and Chives

In the South (USA), butter beans are a popular variety of fresh shelled beans, sort of like fresh limas, but in my opinion better! If you can't get authentic butter beans, baby limas can be used. In true Southern fashion, the country ham and chives are used as seasonings here, like salt and pepper.

As much as I hate shelling these little gems, I do freeze a lot of them in the summer.

Butter Beans in Cream with Country Ham and Chives
serves 6
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3 cups fresh shelled butter beans
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely minced country ham
1 tablespoon very finely snipped chives
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Put butter beans in a large saucepan, and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt to the pot, and bring to a boil. Skin the surface until clear. Cook, partially covered, at a simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the beans are very tender but not mushy.

Drain the butter beans completely, and return to saucepan. Add the heavy cram, ham, chives, butter, salt and pepper, stirring well to blend. Bring to a simmer and remove from Heat. Taste for seasoning , and add more salt if needed. Serve hot.