I am not a succotash purist. Anemic stuff. Corn and lima beans swimming in some white stuff. Weee. Nope, give me some depth of flavor; a little bite; a little meatiness from some tomatoes. And creamy white stuff turns into a splash or two of heavy cream. This is a wonderful fresh meal, born of the farmers’ market here. One stand was selling shelled peas–I’m not sure what kind; there was no label. If you know, please let me know. Otherwise, I’m going with Field Peas.
Another stand had some lovely white corn. Yes, please. The rest fell into place.
- fresh Field Peas (or limas or pinto beans or whatever). I think my cryo-vacced bag weighed a pound
- three ears corn (more or less, depending on how much you Like Corn)
- olive oil and butter
- salt and pepper, to taste
- diced onion, to taste
- pepper flake, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (only use if you’re using fresh peas/beans that need to be cooked. If your beans are pre-cooked, you won’t need the stock)
- 1 large can diced tomatoes (or about 2 cups worth of fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced)
- any herbs you have lying about–fresh or dried
- maybe 1/4 cup heavy cream
As you can see from Ye Olde Ingredient Liste, this is a pretty simple preparation. You can add some meat to it to make it a little heartier. You can serve it as a side. You can season it however you like. I think the Official Definition of succotash is something along the lines of a dish made from corn and beans. The rest is up to you. Here’s how I made ours:
Sweat onion in olie oil (okay, one of my letter keys isn’t working right now. Guess which one. How does this happen? I blame the kittens. From now on, an Apostrophe will play the part of That Letter). Anyway, with salt and pepper and pepper flake. Until soft.
Cut kernels from the corn, thusly:
Toss the peas/beans into the pan with the onions. Add the chicken stock and some herbs and simmer until mostly tender. This took me about 30-ish minutes.
Once the peas/beans are mostly tender, add the tomatoes and corn. Simmer to heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt/pepper/herbs as necessary until you like it.
Splash in the cream and reduce by about 1/3. Taste again. Because it’s good.
And that’s really it. It’s easy to make; it’s cheap to make; it’s wide open to personal interpretation. It contains Cream. What’s not to like?
A Personal Anecdote Regarding Succotash
Last Thanksgi’ing, The Belo’ed and I went to see his aunt and uncle in Delaware. I helped Auntie to make the meal. Auntie is Not Used to being helped, and does things Her Way. At any rate, my parts: creamed cauliflower and stuffing. She made succotash, and I made some extra beschamel for her, since I needed it for the cauliflower, too. I asked if she wanted to put some tomato in her succotash. You know, to mix things up a bit? She was Scandalized. “That’s not how I make it. Uncle wouldn’t like it.” I thought to myself he would if he tries it, but I was Meek and said okay. Uncle piped up and asked how I make my succotash. I ga’e him the run down, and he said that perhaps he would like it that way after all and maybe Auntie could do it that way Next Time. She looked a bit Nonplussed, and e’en though I’m generally a Nice Person, I quietly enjoyed The Moment.