Succotash

Do you know what Succotash is?  Well, all that ever came to my mind when I heard succotash was Sylvester the looney tunes cat saying “Sufferin Succotash!” until a few years ago when Derek’s Mom made some for dinner.  It was essentially some frozen veggies including corn and some milk or cream and spices.  I thought it was ok.  I mean maybe just slightly better than the veggies plain?  I guess succotash gets its roots from 17th century Plymouth days when Pilgrims and Native Americans frequently cooked up what later became referred to as “Plymouth succotash”–kind of a stew with corn and dried beans and bits of dried or fresh meat.  By the 19th century, it involved into more of a meatless side dish.  Well, the corn in my garden is on it’s last leg.  We have had corn on the cob steamed multiple times in the last couple weeks.  And don’t get me wrong, we have loved it, but I saw a recipe in one of my Cooks Illustrated magazines for Succotash with fresh corn minus the cream sauce I decided that would be a welcome variation at my table.
SUCCOTASH

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-oz) can butter beans, 2 Tbsp liquid reserved
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (3 C)
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Stir reserved bean liquid and lemon juice together in small bowl; set aside (This serves to bring dish together en lieu of cream sauce).  Melt butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and beginning to brown, 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add corn and beans.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until corn and bean have cooked through, about 4 minutes.  Add bean liquid mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat, stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Variation with Fennel and Scallions:  Thinly slice white and green parts of 4 scallions on bias.  Substitute cannellini beans for butter beans; 1 fennel bulb, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, and scallion whites for onion and bell pepper; 1/4 tsp ground fennel for cayenne; and scallion greens for parsley.

Variations with Leeks and Black Pepper:  Substitute pink beans for butter beans; 1 leek, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, sliced thing, and washed for onion and bell pepper; 1 tsp pepper for cayenne; and 3 Tbsp minced chives for parsley.

Variation with Poblano, Bacon, and Cilantro:  Substitute pinto beans for butter beans and lime juice for lemon juice.  Cook 2 slices chopped bacon in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crips, 5-7 mins.  Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and set aside.  Reduce butter to 2 Tbsp and add it to fat in skillet.  Proceed with recipe, substituting poblano chile for bell pepper, 1/4 tsp ground coriander for cayenne, and cilantro for parsley.  Sprinkle with reserved bacon before serving.

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