“Many of my favorite childhood memories are from my Grandma and Pawpaw’s farm in Western Kentucky” Omni La Mansion del Rio’s Executive Chef Camron Woods reflected on this recipe. “It’s a tiny town named Clinton and it’s where we would visit in the summertime or for the Holidays. In the Summer time we would pick bushels of what we called ‘PawPaw Beans.’ PawPaw loved these small, fat, light green beans and so did we. They were rich, meaty, somewhat sweet and very buttery in texture.”
“We would come to find out that the rest of the world called these beans lima beans or butterbeans. We discovered this through a hilarious, albeit rather heated, debate between my older brother and his kindergarten teacher surrounding the old ‘grow a bean in a cup lesson.’ While most people insist a lima bean is the same thing as a butterbean, my grandmother insisted that this varietal was a smaller plumper cousin to the lima bean.”
“We would eat them stewed slowly with lots of butter, and not much else, at what seemed like every meal. I couldn’t get enough of them. What we couldn’t consume, which was a substantial amount, we would pack and freeze in a chest freezer outside in the saddle shed. During the holidays we would have plenty of this summertime treat available to warm the soul.”
“Now I like using them to make a southern favorite, succotash. Although I can’t find the same beans that PawPaw used to grow, small baby lima beans, braised in butter, work pretty well.”
PawPaw Bean Succotash
2 cups frozen baby lima beans
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 ears of sweet corn, off the cob
1 yellow onion, diced
3 strips of smoked bacon or smoked ham, diced
½ pound butter
For the beans:
1. Put the beans into a medium sauce pot with ¼ cup water ½ a pound of butter
2. Put over low heat to allow the butter to melt and then simmer for about 30 minutes
For the succotash:
1. In a large pan, render the fat on the bacon and then add the onion and pepper
2. After they are completely soft, add the corn
3. Sautee for about 5 minutes
4. Last remove the beans from the butter and add to the succotash
5. Add some of the butter from the beans to the succotash to taste (I usually use all of it!)
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Executive Chef Camron Woods has spent twenty-one years fine-tuning his culinary talents at several high-end resorts throughout the country. Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, he embarked on his culinary career at Woodlands Resort & Inn in Summerville, S.C., starting as a dishwasher and working his way up the ranks to an executive sous chef role. During Woods’ eight-year tenure, the resort attained world-class status, becoming the first Five Star and Five Diamond property in the state, earning membership into the prestigious Relais & Châteaux organization and Relais Gourmand, and receiving a perfect 100 food score on Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List.
Prior to joining the team at Omni La Mansión, Woods led the culinary and beverage teams in completely remodeling, re-branding and revamping The Ranch at Laguna Beach, a historic, local icon. Earlier in his career, Woods spent seven years as executive chef of Amaya La Jolla and at the Grand Del Mar Resort, a Five Star, Five Diamond property. Additionally, he acted as the restaurant chef at Four Seasons Great Exuma in the Bahamas and at the award-winning Four Seasons Atlanta.
At Omni La Mansión, Woods oversees all of the food & beverage operations. He strives to utilize the best and most seasonal, local ingredients available. Woods’ cooking style is ingredient-driven, experimenting with fresh produce to create humble yet flavorful dishes. Since joining the team in August 2016, Woods has adapted to the Texas culinary landscape while bringing his own unique spin to the menus on offer.
Outside of the kitchen, Woods has appeared on news programs such as KUSI TV’s “Good Morning San Diego” and actively supports non-profit foundations such as Mama’s Kitchen, The San Diego Council on Literacy’s “Eat.Drink.Read.” fundraiser and The Boys and Girls Club, among others.