I don’t know about you, but succotash sounds very appealing to me. I always think of Sylvester the Cat saying “Thuffering Thucotash!” The word succotash is actually a Native American word meaning “boiled corn kernels.”
So, taken broadly, any cooked corn dish could be termed a succotash. Although succotash has sometimes gotten a bad name due to indifferent cafeteria cooking, it can be a very tasty and flavorful dish.
The main ingredients of succotash are generally fresh corn and lima beans, but there are any number of variations that you can make. Here is my simple take on succotash.
Serve it as a summer side dish, when the corn is good and sweet like it is on the Jersey shore in August but don't let that stop you from making it other times of the year. I try to always use fresh vegetables when available but frozen can be used and still taste good.
Pack enough vegetables into it, along with other shell beans, and you have a really hearty meatless main course.
Consider this recipe a jumping off point. From this base, you can add almost any fresh vegetables that you have on hand and change up the seasonings to make the dish truly your own.
Simple Succotash Recipe
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 cups fresh baby lima beans you can also use frozen
- 6 ears corn shucked and cleaned of silk
- pepper flakes cayenne pepper, or hot sauce, to taste (optional)
- 14½ ounces diced tomatoes undrained (or about 2 cups very ripe diced fresh tomatoes, peeled and deseeded)*
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons mixed fresh mild herbs thyme, oregano, chervil, chives, etc
- Cut the kernels off the corn cobs by holding each ear vertically inside a large bowl. Make sure the end of the ear is firmly touching the bottom of the bowl. Using a sharp chef knife, slice the kernels off the ear, rotating the ear a bit before each new cut. Scrape the cobs with the back of your knife to get the rest of the pulp and milk.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter, swirling it around the pan.
- When butter is mostly melted, sweat the shallot for a minute or two, until softened and translucent.
- Add the lima beans, corn, optional pepper flake, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until hot and simmering.
- Stir in the heavy cream and cook for a minute to reduce by ¼.
- Stir in the fresh herbs. Taste and correct seasonings.
- Serve warm, but this is even really tasty at room temperature.
Succotash - Don't You Just Love The Sound of It?
Succotash (SUHK-uh-tash) comes from the Indian word sohquttahhash or broken corn kernels. It is a popular US favorite especially in the southern states and consists of lima beans, corn and sometimes red peppers that have been cooked.
I found a recipe for succotash in some grocery store that I adapted for myself using ingredients I had on hand. When I looked up succotash on Google, I was blown away at how many variations there are for such a simple dish.
I realized succotash can be what ever you want it to be as long as you are using corn and some sort of legume, most often lima beans.
Fresh lima beans, sometimes called butter beans, come as pods very similar to edamame (whole soy bean pods). Although not generally available with the whole pod, you may find some in a specialty store and they should be dark green and glossy.
Dried lima and frozen lima beans are readily available in most supermarkets. The dried lima beans need to be soaked and cooked before using.
You can find regular frozen lima beans and baby lima beans too. I find there is nothing wrong with frozen lima beans the same as I don't think there is anything wrong with other frozen vegetables as long as you handle them properly and don't defrost and refreeze.
Did you know that 1 pound of dry packaged beans = 2 cups dry = 6 cups cooked beans?
And of course you will find canned lima beans that are fine for soups and stews but be careful to check the sodium levels with any canned veggie. For this recipe I found some frozen baby lima beans that were already cooked and ready to go.
And I'm sure my summer succotash would have been better with fresh corn and fresh vegetables, I opted for frozen to expedite the meal. Truth is I needed to prepare something in a hurry to serve with dinner.
Summer Succotash Recipe
- 1½ cups corn
- ¾ cups lima beans young
- 6 tablespoons olive oil virgin
- 1 small onion or 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper roasted & chopped (I used 4 pieces of jarred peppers)
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
- 1 pinch sugar
- juice of lime
- salt & pepper to taste
- Start by heating up a medium sized saucepan and heating up 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil.
- Add the frozen lima beans, corn, onion or shallot and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.
- Add the red pepper and cook for another minute or two and remove from the heat.
- Add the fresh basil, parsley, and thyme and mix together.
- Season with sugar, lime juice, mix, taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.