Simplest Succotash

June 28th, 2009

Dating back to colonial times, Succotash takes its name from the Narragansett msickquatash, a dish of corn and beans first introduced by Native Americans to English settlers.  Summer Succotash typically refers to the dish made with fresh corn and beans, while Winter Succotash might be made with dried corn and beans stewed with meat.  According to Evan Jones’ American Food, Native Americans froze their Winter Succotash, and would use a tomahawk to chip off pieces to melt over a fire as needed.  Jones also describes several regional variations – lima beans were most often used in the South, while in New England, succotash might contain cranberry beans instead.  The Pennsylvania Dutch were even known for adding dumplings.  In the height of summer, when flavors are at their peak, it doesn’t take much to bring corn together with fresh beans and tomatoes to make a deliciously Simple Succotash.

Here is a very simple recipe for a buttery succotash with fresh fava beans and plum tomatoes.  It’s a great addition to backyard barbecues.

INGREDIENTS  (serves 4-6)

3-4  ears of fresh corn on the cob

4  roma (plum) tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, and diced

1  cup fresh cooked fava beans, shelled and shucked

1-2  large shallots, peeled finely diced

2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced

1/2 cup heavy cream

2-3 Tbsp. butter


cayenne pepper

fresh lemon juice (optional)

1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives


1.  Prepare all the ingredients.  Cut the corn kernels from the cob, then use a sturdy spoon to scrape the “milk” from the cob.  Reserve both separately.  See Peeling Fresh Tomatoes, and Greenest Fava Beans Ever! for tips on preparing the tomatoes and fava beans.

2.  In a shallow saucepan, melt a generous tablespoon of butter and cook the diced shallots over low heat until they are soft and transparent.  Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

3.  Add the corn kernels and cook over medium heat just until they begin to turn bright yellow.  Add the corn “milk” and heavy cream.  Season with salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper and simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes so that the corn is cooked but still crisp, and the liquid is slightly reduced.

4.  Add the fava beans and tomatoes and just heat them through in the corn mixture.  The mixture should not be soupy, but there should be enough liquid to coat all the ingredients.  Remove from the heat, melt in a tablespoon of butter, and a dash of lemon juice if desired, and fresh chopped chives.

And theyeven stayed that green in the fridge as I prepared the rest of my ingredients, and after being mixed in and warmed up with the rest of the succotash.

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