Spicy Succotash with Bacon and Fava Beans for Progressive Eats

Spicy Succotash

I was raised in the South, but my folks were both raised in the North. I grew up in a house that was geographically in North Carolina but culinarily in Queens. This caused me more than a little stress growing up. Living right in the heart of the Queen City, I had no idea what grits were, or cornbread, and we never ate collards and black-eyed peas for New Year's. Not until I was an adult did I discover the warm comfort that is a big old piece of Southern corn bread mashed up into a soupy plate of pinto beans.

Southerners ate biscuits. We had rolls. Southerners ate cheese grits. Mom served cream of wheat. Southerners ate chicken and flat or "slick" dumplings. When we had dumplings, ours were big and puffy and sat atop a fricassee.

Don't get me wrong, friends. I love rolls, and I even like cream of wheat. In the great dumpling debate, I won't throw a puffy one on the floor if it's offered, but I do come down on the side of the slick dumpling. I had some catching up to do.

Southern fried chicken. The glory that is whole hog barbecue. Nubby cubes of golden cornbread. Fluffy buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy. Collard greens and field peas. Rich yet thrifty bread pudding. Crispy-tangy fried green tomatoes. Homemade pimento cheese sandwiches.

Progressive Eats

If you aren't sure what a progressive dinner is, it's when different folks are responsible for different courses, and everyone goes from house to house enjoying a long, leisurely, peripatetic meal. So much fun! Barb from Creative Culinary thought it was high time the tradition was carried on in the virtual world, and Progressive Eats was born! We even have a hashtag, #ProgressiveEats. Look for it to follow all the posts the fourth Tuesday of every month.

When I heard that the theme of the inaugural progressive dinner for Progressive Eats was Summer in the South, I believe I might have cut a small caper. I at least grinned fairly broadly. Because I am up to speed and ready. I still live in the south--going on fifty years now--and I've been practicing.

I just went and looked at the final menu, and friends, you are in for a treat. What you will experience through all twelve courses is truly a Southern feast. From appetizers, to salads, a soup, main and bread to sides drinks and desserts, we have got you covered. I will share the menu at the end of this post so you can go and feast your eyes, bookmark and pin and make. We invite you to dine with all of us, around our virtual table, as we enjoy a feast inspired by Summer in the South.

Spicy Succotash

Spicy Succotash

Rather than going with a dessert, I decided to update a traditional southern side dish. At its heart, succotash is a pretty simple mixture of corn and beans enriched with some cream. That's great and all, but I do like to mix things up just a bit. The succotash I'm bringing to our table today is a spicy one full of the expected corn and beans, in this case limas, but jazzed up with some bacon, fava beans, cayenne and one of my favorite southern shortcut ingredients, a can of Ro-Tel. The result is creamy and complex. You can easily make this vegetarian by leaving out the bacon and bacon fat or take it all the way to vegan by subbing in a vegan "butter" or some coconut oil. I think a sprinkling of Marly's Bacon-Flavored Almond Slivers would be great in either a vegetarian or vegan version. I hope you enjoy this spicy succotash as much as we do.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spicy Succotash for Progressive Eats
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 4-6
What You Need
  • 4 oz uncooked bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon bacon fat, reserved from cooking
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1½ cups (6 oz) diced sweet onion
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz (about 1 cup) yellow corn kernels
  • 5 oz (about 1 cup) white corn kernels
  • 8 oz (about 1½ cups) baby lima beans
  • 1 can Ro-Tel (I used the Chunky style)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth or water
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup dried fava beans, simmered in 1½ cups unsalted water for 30 minutes, drained
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) heavy cream
What To Do
  1. Cook the bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet until crisp. Crumble it and set aside.
  2. Pour off all the fat except about 1 Tablespoon.
  3. Add the butter to the pan and then cook the onion along with some salt and pepper until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the corn kernels, lima beans, Ro-Tel and cayenne. Stir to combine and heat through.
  5. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as necessary.
  6. Add the broth or water. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the vegetables simmer about 5-6 minutes until the limas are approaching tender.
  7. Remove the lid, add the cream and turn the heat back up to reduce the broth/cream mixture to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the reserved fava beans during the last 3 minutes of cooking to heat through.
  9. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  10. Stir in about ⅔ of the crumbled bacon.
  11. Top each serving with additional crumbled bacon.
  12. Enjoy

Please go check out all the other courses. We're starting with Lana from Never Enough Thyme who chose this month's theme (yay, Lana) and then stopping by everyone else's place to enjoy course after delicious course.

Summer in the South; Progressive Eats Dinner #1

Main Course
Never Enough Thyme - Creole Style Smothered Chicken

The Heritage Cook - Old Bay Shrimp Boil Skewers
Stetted - Fried Green Tomatoes with Smoked Tomato Basil Aioli

Savvy Eats - Jalapeno Cornbread + How to Store Cornbread

Miss in the Kitchen - Creamy Coleslaw
Life's a Feast - Shrimp, Grilled Peach and Quinoa Salad

Spiceroots - Maque Choux Soup

Creative Culinary - Bacon and Caramelized Onion Creamed Corn
Pastry Chef Online - Spicy Succotash--You're already here!

Healthy. Delicious. - Watermelon Lemonade

Barbara Bakes - Key Lime Pound Cake
That Skinny Chick Can Bake - Banana Cream Cheesecake Pie

Interested in participating in Progressive Eats or just want to know more about it? Find out what you need to know on Barb's site here on her Progressive Eats Page.

Thank you, Barb, for putting this fantastic group together! And thank you, dear readers, for stopping by and enjoying a virtual meal with all of us. We appreciate your company.

Have a lovely day.


  1. says

    Oh Jenni, you are speaking to my heart! My grandmother, Mimi, always made slick dumplings with chicken gravy for us and I am dreaming of them now. Your succotash looks incredible and I love that you used Favas instead of lima beans. Creamy and comforting with a little kick, this is the way to get any kid to eat their vegetables, LOL! Way to go ~ you did the South proud!

    • says

      Thank you so much, Jane! I did use the traditional limas, but I couldn’t resist adding in some favas, just for fun! And slick dumplings are the best, aren’t they? =)

  2. says

    Bacon and veggies? How can your succotash be anything but spectacular! Joining you at the Progressive Eats table is the next best thing to hanging out and dining with you in person!

    • says

      I couldn’t agree more! And I just love the photo of you and Barb together! Succotash and banana pie? Yes! I would love to sit down and share the whole meal with everyone. =)

  3. nadine says

    I was with you right up to the whole lima bean thing Jenni! Loved your descriptions of our beloved Southern food – yum! You even managed to make succotash sound really good – I guess if I left out the limas it wouldn’t be succotash anymore, would it? ( :

  4. says

    I ‘only’ lived in the south for 10 years, calling Raleigh home. But they were formative years. Young wife; new mother; that time when I learned to garden and can and bake (and sew too!) and it has surely impacted me and what I love forever. Heck, I still have some annual Southern Living cookbooks that hold treasures I would cry without!

    That being said, guess it’s my midwest roots that cry for puffy dumplings; I never quite got that slick business! 🙂

    Wonderful example of Southern tradition mixed with your own fabulous take Jenni. Thanks for joining our motley crew!

  5. says

    I am not only loving the southern food journey for the flavors, I am falling in love with it. With such exotic names as succotash and cayenne pepper as one of the ingredients, I have bookmarked this recipe to make.

    • says

      I hope you love it, Ansh! It’s so funny what folks find exotic. Masala sounds exotic to me; succotash sounds exotic to me. But exotic or not, truly delicious! I am so glad you are falling in love with Southern Food. There’s a lot to love, and much can be traced back to African roots. Lots of interesting (and sometimes disturbing) food history in the southern US.

  6. micaela p. says

    I giggled so much reading your post because that’s similar to my experience growing up in PR — rice & beans, fritters, all that was stuff we ate when we weren’t home. That was “other people” food. I love my PRican food, and I love Southern food (tho I’m still ambivalent about dumplings and livermush). Mhhhhmmm, pimento cheese sammiches!!! I can’t wait to try this succotash, it looks delicious.

  7. says

    Mmmmm you’ve got everything wonderful going on there… creamy, complex, beany (I love fava beans), corn and bacon and I love this! A side dish? Or a main course eaten out of the bowl with a spoon in front of the tv? But yes this would make a great picnic or bbq side dish! I love it!

  8. says

    I can just imagine your bewilderment living smack-dab in the middle of the South in a family with a Queens culinary background! Must have made for some amusing moments! You certainly seem to have acclimated over the years because this succotash would be welcome on any southern sideboard. Bravo.

  9. Maggie says

    I too am a “naturalized” southerner — 20 years here now after growing up in California — and I’ve yet to meet a chicken-hugging dumpling, slick or fluffy, that I didn’t like. This dish sounds like 25% of heaven on a meat ‘n three plate. (Let my other three be fried chicken, smothered cabbage, and rice & gravy.) Right now I need to go look at that Macque Choux Soup. Yum.

  10. Maggie says

    Jenni, I just saw on the Progressive Eats event plan that YOU are scheduled to host the Holiday Desserts fest in November. OMIGOD I can hardly wait to see what you come up with! Please, please give us a little preview here when you get your plan formulated!

    I’m having a little love affair with Marlborough Apple Pie that I want to talk to you about…

    • says

      I’m looking forward to that progressive dinner too–it is going to be delicious! Not sure what I’m doing, and knowing myself, I probably won’t even figure it out until the week it’s due, but if I do plan ahead, I will share an instagram preview!

  11. MrsJennyK says

    Oh my Oh my! What a fabulous and economical dish – in fact, I’d pair it with some cornbread and a salad and call it a meal all on its own. If you have corn, onions and tomatoes from your (or your neighbor’s) garden it’s even cheaper! I have a whole mason jar of bacon grease in my fridge. I might make it with that and leave out the actual bacon to save even a bit more. Can you tell I’m in an ultra-tightwad phase right now? LOL


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