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Creamy Lima Bean Gratin
© Lucy Schaeffer

Creamy Lima Bean Gratin

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS
  • SERVINGS: 10
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

This deliciously rich gratin is Robert Stehling's take on the Southern casseroles he refers to as "church-supper dishes."

  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons melted
  2. 2 large leeks, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced crosswise
  3. 3/4 pound shiitake or cremini mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
  4. 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  5. 3 cups heavy cream
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. Four 10-ounce boxes of frozen baby lima beans
  10. 1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
  11. 1/4 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 1/4 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.