You might notice that there are a couple of bites out of the piece of pumpernickel above. I forgot to think about pictures first and started chomping away. Sorry about that. I promise I'll get better.
Heidi suggests nearly 2/3 cup of olive oil to start and promised that it is necessary for the body of the stew. I was definitely skeptical but she was probably right. Having said that, I wasn't able to force myself to use more than 1/2 cup of the oil, and it was still beautiful. This is a stew with few ingredients that really pack a punch, the sum being so much more than the parts. It reheats well, makes a lot, is fine for the freezer, and the dogs enjoyed the little taste of it when I felt generous.
You can start this stew by making your celery salt. Yep, your own homemade celery salt. This is done by toasting very dry celery leaves in the oven (or stove top) for about 20 minutes at 250 degrees and then chopping with equal parts kosher salt. Easy peasy.
While the celery leaves are toasting, start 1/2 cup olive oil in a saucepan. Add 3 cups of sliced celery and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 1 cup of green onions, 8 sliced cloves of garlic, salt and black pepper. Cook for another few minutes. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of your homemade celery salt, about 1 pound of lima beans (already cooked), and 5-1/2 cups of water or vegetable stock. Simmer for a few minutes or up to an hour and serve with chopped black olives and a few squirts of lemon juice on top.