New Succotash: Goodness of the Past, Conveneince of the Present

Succotash is an old-fashioned word, a word that conjures up memories of pot-lucks, church suppers, and farm dinners. I’m originally from Long Island, New York and ate this yellow and green vegetable combination when I was a child. It was seasoned simply — salt, pepper, and butter.

The New England version was pretty much the same. Some cooks added heavy cream and simmered the mixture until the cream was reduced and thick, a quick way to make a cream sauce. As the years passed, regional ingredients were added to the basic recipe. Southerners often added okra because it was grown there and readily available.

I searched the Internet for recipes and found one from Paula Dean. She adds a ham hock and bacon for flavor, hot sauce for zip, and sliced okra for body. Cooking the vegetables in chicken stock also adds flavor. Her recipe is posted on the Food Network website and one blogger raved about it, saying “even picky eaters enjoyed this dish.”

The Food Channel website posted a recipe for Silver Dollar City Succotash. Though there is corn in the recipe, it is packed with other vegetables as well, yellow summer squash, green peppers, onions, and breaded okra. The recipe also calls for chicken chunks, which transforms it into a main dish.

What is the origin of succotash?

According to the Cooks Info website, it came from Native Americans, who taught the European settlers how to make it. The Cherokees often added pumpkin and meat to the recipe, and sometimes nuts. This vegetable combination has “proteins that compliment each other to make a complete protein,” the website explains.

Today, cooks are adding tomatoes, potatoes, and other vegetables to the basic recipe. However you make it, I love it. There’s something about the golden nuggets of corn, green lima beans, and flecks of red pepper that grab my attention and make my mouth water. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to lima beans, so I substitute green beans instead.

The US Government is asking Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables. Maybe it’s time to try a new version of this old recipe, a recipe full of flavor and nutrition. Get out the skillet and give it a try. If you love corn, you may add another half cup to the recipe. You may also add a few crisp strips of bacon for flavor.

Ingredients

2 teaspoons butter

4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

3/4 cup frozen cut green beans, thawed

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 red pepper, finely chopped

1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add sliced scallions and saute for several minutes. Add corn, green beans, diced celery, and red pepper. Saute vegetables for several minutes, stirring until tender. Season with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Serve with grilled chicken, steak, pork chops, hamburger, or hot dogs. Makes 4-5 servings.

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Shaista’s Kitchen

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