This is not one of my best photos, but it wouldn’t be right to deny you Robert Stehling’s crowd-pleasing recipe just because I was too busy eating out of the pan to take a good photo. If you like limas, you will adore this recipe. If you don’t like them, try this heavenly mix of limas and sautéed mushrooms bathed in a creamy sauce and topped with a crispy parmesan-breadcrumb topping, and you will. This delightful Thanksgiving side dish recipe serves 10, but I halved it for the photo.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons melted
2 large leeks, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced crosswise
¾ pound shiitake or cremini mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
3 cups heavy cream
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Four 10-ounce boxes of frozen baby lima beans
½ cup fine, dry bread crumbs
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the sliced leeks and cook over low heat, stirring, until they are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, 15 minutes. Add the stock, cream, bay leaves and tarragon and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
2. Put the frozen lima beans in the bottom of a 12- to 14-cup glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour the hot cream mixture over the limas. Bake for 1 ¼ hours, or until the cream sauce is thickened.
3. Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the Parmesan and melted butter. Sprinkle the crumbs over the lima beans and broil for about 1 minute, rotating the dish for even browning. Let the gratin stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead: The gratin can be baked for 50 minutes, then cooled and refrigerated overnight. Bring the gratin to room temperature and bake in a 400° oven for 15 minutes, or until the limas are tender, before adding the crumb topping and broiling.