Baby Lima Soup with Chipotle Broth

Baby Lima Soup with Chipotle Broth Recipe

I suspect that one of my favorite recipes from Super Natural Cooking is a tad bit neglected, overlooked. It lives unassumingly on page 144, has no seductive photograph flanking it, and has the word lima in the title. It was a recipe originally shared with me by my pal Amanda Berne, in the middle of the day, in a Mexican grocery store in San Francisco's Mission District. We were surrounded by beans and dried chiles, flanked by towers of steaming, freshly made tortillas. Amanda can mount a compelling argument for a recipe she is fond of, and I tend to listen to her. This soup quickly became a regular in my kitchen. Made from just five ingredients, it is a vibrant, chipotle-spiked, brothy soup that requires minimal babysitting. The dainty baby lima beans soften up in about an hour without any pre-soaking or fuss.

Baby Lima Soup Recipe

You can find chipotles in adobo sauce in the Mexican-foods section of most markets. They lend a spicy, smoky, assertive flair that's nicely balanced by the beans and regal reddish gold broth.

Those of you interested in my weekend trip to Portland, Oregon can read the details and see a few pics I uploaded.

Baby Lima Soup with Chipotle Broth

1 pound dried baby lima beans, picked over and rinsed
10 cups water
1 head garlic, top lobbed off to expose the cloves and loose skins removed
2 tablespoons olive oil or clarified butter
1 onion, halved top to bottom and sliced into thin crescents
1 to 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt

Squeeze of lime juice (optional)

Pick over the beans, looking carefully for any pebbles or dirt clumps; baby limas seem to be magnets for dirt. Rinse the beans, then combine them with the water and garlic in a heavy soup pot. You might think putting a whole head of unpeeled garlic in the pot is strange, but just go with it. Bring the beans to an active simmer and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until just a touch al dente and not mushy or falling apart. Test their doneness by tasting; you really can't tell any other way.

Heat the olive oil (or butter) in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, chipotles, and 2 teaspoons of the adobo sauce, and sauté over medium high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, just until the onion starts to soften. You can always add more adobo sauce later for a spicier soup; just don't overdo it on the front end.

Add the salt and the onion-chipotle mix to the pot of beans and simmer gently for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors. The broth should be thin, so add more water if needed. Add more salt and more adobo a bit at a time if the flavors aren't popping. Finish with a squeeze of lime if you like. I usually remove the garlic head at this point or serve around it.

Serves 6.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • I'm addicted to making soups right now...and this recipe is going to the top of the list! Mmmmm. Chipotle has such a nice warming flavor.

    Ellie from Kitchen Caravan
  • i just made this recipe earlier in the week after looking at the cookbook. it was every bit as good as promised - couldn't believe how much flavor the adobo sauce added! i did like adding lime juice at the end. i had it for lunch the next day with a little cous-cous mixed in.

    helen
  • This sounds delicious...We'll definitely have to try it. I might try it with a habanero pepper instead. I've been growing them at home and they seem to still be thriving despite the change in weather. Thanks!

    nithya
  • I am also curious about what to do with the head of garlic

    Emma
  • Chipotle broth sounds like a flavorful way to celebrate a cool day. Love the simplicity of the soup with the spicy addition!

    RecipeGirl
  • Thanks for sharing! I love a great hearty soup recipe this time of year...

    Mary
  • I love soup and Mexican food. So this sounds great. Definitely making this one. Thanks!

    michelle
  • I love soup and Mexican food. So this sounds great. Definitely making this one. Thanks!

    michelle
  • wow! i wish i were finding dirt clumps in my lima beans...it leads me to believe that my limas might be all sterilized and citified. anyway, this soup sounds incredible and simple. thanks!

    Cate
  • This was the first recipe from Super Natural Cooking that I bought ingredients for... but then I never got around to cooking it. Now, many months later, I have a bag of baby lima beans sitting in my pantry still waiting to be made into this soup. Thanks for photo and the reminder.

    Kristin
  • When do you (or do you) remove the whole head of garlic from the pot? HS: just before serving, or I'll serve around it.

    Danielle
  • Heidi - do you have any suggestions for replacing the chipotle if it cannot be found? Could one replace it with another kind of pepper?

    skylarkza
  • I too love chipotle, when i do have them around I find an excuse to put them in almost everything, now a reason to stock up again and try this soup...And I tend to get intimidated by beans because of all the pre-soaking involved...so this is a great recipe for me....

    Jeannie
  • I've never been a lima bean fan, but everything I've made from here has been good. Maybe it's time to give them another go?

    Fit BOttomed Girls
  • Yummy! I love easy soup recipes -- thanks for sharing this!

    Nirvana
  • I'm a sucker for anything with chipotle! My fave is butternut squash soup infused with this smoky pepper.

    Susy
  • au contraire! This was the first thing I made from Super Natural Cooking! I love lima beans and I love chipotle, so it was a natural first choice.

    Jen (Modern Beet)
  • This looks so great and yummy! A new mexican dish, and a soup to boot. Two of my fav things. Thanks

    TheKidsAreAlight
  • Such a wonderful winter soup! I have been cooking soups trying to summon the cold weather to Arizona and this one will be next in line. I think my Mom would love it too. Thank you!

    Iva
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