Bean love runs deep in the kitchen at Tiny Champions in Houston. Chef Julia Doran recommends using the best-quality beans you can find (like Rancho Gordo) for this recipe. You can skip the toppings and serve these beans with toasted crusty bread, or as an appetizer alongside cheese and pickles. If you want to make this dish vegan, use toum instead of the labneh sauce.
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lb. dried large lima beans
Tbsp. plus ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
tsp. fennel seeds
tsp. fennel pollen (optional)
medium onion, finely chopped
fennel bulb, fronds reserved, finely chopped
celery stalks, finely chopped
wide strips lemon zest
cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
lb. fresh banana peppers, Anaheim chiles, or other sweet peppers
small bunch dill
Tbsp. coriander seeds
tsp. black peppercorns
tsp. fennel seeds
tsp. mustard seeds
cups distilled white vinegar
Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
garlic cloves, smashed
slices sourdough bread, torn into 1″–2″ pieces
cup extra-virgin olive oil
tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Labneh sauce and assembly
Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
garlic clove, finely grated
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Place beans in a medium bowl and pour in cold water to cover, Let soak 1–3 hours, then drain.
Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Cook garlic, pepper, fennel seeds, and fennel pollen (if using), stirring often, until garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add onion, fennel, celery, lemon zest, and bay leaves and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, 6–8 minutes. Add beans, broth and 1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, then pour in water to cover beans by about ½”. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, adding more water if needed, until beans are tender, 60–65 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Stir in remaining ⅓ cup plus 2 Tbsp. oil.
Rotate banana peppers directly over the flame of a gas burner until charred all over, about 1 minute per side. (Alternatively, you can broil peppers on a rimmed baking sheet, turning occasionally, until charred all over, about 2 minutes per side.) Transfer banana peppers to a medium heatproof bowl and add dill, coriander seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, and mustard seeds to bowl.
Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1½ cups water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook, stirring often, until sugar and salt are dissolved, about 1 minute. Pour into bowl with banana peppers (they should be submerged) and let sit at least 2 hours.
Remove banana peppers from brine and slice before serving.
Do ahead: Peppers can be pickled 5 days ahead. Let cool, then transfer to an airtight container. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 400°. Spread bread out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle oil over and toss with your hands until all the bread is lightly coated. Sprinkle salt and black pepper over and toss again to combine.
Bake, tossing after 10 minutes, until croutons are golden brown but still chewy in the center, 18–20 minutes.
labneh sauce and assembly
Mix labneh, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl; season with salt. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Ladle beans evenly among bowls and top each with a dollop of labneh sauce and some pickled peppers, croutons, and fennel fronds; season with a grind or two of pepper.
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