Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sufferin' Succotash? More Like Succulent and Super-Interesting Succotash!

When most of you hear the word, "succotash," you probably don't think of a delicious vegetable side dish, you probably think of Warner Brother's Sylvester the cat's catchphrase, "Sufferin' succotash!" But succotash really is a great, and very underrated recipe.

As I say in the video, this may be America's oldest vegetable recipe, coming from the Narragansett Indian word, "msíckquatash," which according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary means "boiled corn kernels."

You can see from the photo, this is much more than that, combining an array of vegetables including corn, beans, and squash. These three ingredients were such an important source of nutr
ition for the Native American's they were referred to as "The Three Sisters."

The way they cultivated these three plants together was sheer genius. The corn's stalks were perfect for the climbing vines of the bean plants. In turn, the bean's roots captured nitrogen from the air, enriching the soil, producing larger crops. But it was the third sister that really made the system so brilliant.

Squash sends out long, winding vines with large leaves that stay close to the ground. This acts as an edible ground cover, which not only kept the weeds away, but also provided shade for the corn's shallow roots. It also kept the ground moist, which helped the beans grow, which helped the corn grow higher, which made for longer bean vines/yields, etc., and so on. Who knew succotash could be so fascinating?!

Anyway, I hope you give this easy and nutritious vegetable side dish recipe a try. Enjoy!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno or other small hot chili pepper, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
4 oz green beans, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed
2 green zucchini, cubed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of cayenne
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Unknown said...

This is not your everyday succotash, for sure! It sounds great and looks delicious, very colorful. Great recipe! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was made to eat a lot of Succotash when I was a kid and I swore I would never eat it as an adult. Now I'm possibly re-thinking this "vow".

Chef John, what are your thoughts on replacing the Lima's with Kidney or white beans? Possibly some other beans? I really, really hate Lima beans!!

Chef John said...

you can use any beans u want! It's no skin off my lima. ;-)

Birder said...

I'd always what exactly succotash was. Thanks for deliciously clearing it up, Chef John!

By the way, is there any difference between those two kinds of zucchini you used besides their appearance?

Chef John said...

no, not really

iliea said...

hooray! thanks chef john! i cant wait till summer to make this! (but i may)...

Chef John said...

spoken like a true SF foodie ;-)

babemalo said...

Hey chef john, another great always. I think u just might be the ideal chef i wanna be. 1. Badass cooking &
2. Very Comical
What u dont do:
1. Take things too seriously
2. probably dont yell at ur co-workers (like"Cake Boss")
<3 Your site ^^__^^

babemalo said...

Hey chef john, another great always. I think u just might be the ideal chef i wanna be. 1. Badass cooking &
2. Very Comical
What u dont do:
1. Take things too seriously
2. probably dont yell at ur co-workers (like"Cake Boss")
<3 Your site

snobound said...

I do like some succotash recipes and this one certainly has some interesting twists in it. I'll make sure to give it a try once our garden is in full swing and I can use all fresh, home grown ingredients.

Liam Gray said...

My food wish is that you make a video of a main course that goes well with this side dish!
I think it would be awesome if you did little mini series. Like, make a bunch of videos all for one meal, like one for side dish, main course, dessert, drinks, all that stuff

Jesse from Detroit said...

How do you know when to use oil AND butter to saute things?

Chef John said...

there are no rules. I do it when I feel like some butter flavor.

Norellys said...

Thanks Chef John.
I don´t speak very well english but I can understand your recipes. I love succotash with a Roast Chicken.. (jeje)

Have a good weekend!

Chris K. said...

A couple years ago, we planted the Three Sisters in a community garden. It worked so well that the groundhogs kept most of the crop for themselves.

When keeping dishes like this vegetarian, instead of water I use some home-made veggie stock. It's versatile, easy to make, adds flavor, and freezes well.

Vegetable stock is also cheap. It can be made from scraps. Try cooking up a batch and you'll never buy it from the store again.

Anonymous said...

Chef, why succotash? WHY??

bed frame said...

Vegetarian will going to be happy if they see this very special dish. It looks so healthy and yummy. I love the combination of vegetables. It makes the color perfect.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much.
Happy Vegetarian here, finally a recipe for me. And I come since the front page.

I'm enjoying the new stuff, like sauces and stews so I can make it Vegetarian. It would be great to see more of them.

You have a gift, great dishes.

Aunties said...

Hey thanks for the video ...looks awesome .. need to try it and let you know the reviews

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that "cool zucchini" wasn't a cucumber?

Chef John said...

I believe I know the difference at this stage of my career.

Martha said...

I am an American ex-Pat in England and love this dish. We do the 3 Sisters Planting here. I used fresh corn and baby broad beans here (can't get limas). Wonderful. Finally seeing some squashes here in the UK - have you got a nice recipe for spaghetti squash? Love that.
Love your recipes and dying to try your cheater Pierogi - my husband's father's family came from Poland.

cookinmom said...

I think I will use some yellow squash as well since I have an abundants of it! Ok?

Unknown said...

Chef John,
My 'lazy bachelor' approach to succotash is equal parts of frozen corn and peas microwaved with salt, pepper, and butter. This combination looks interesting. I'll try it. I do have one complaint about your ingredient list and this applies to many recipes I see in books, magazines, and cooking websites. In the succotash recipe, you list "2 zucchini". How much are you actually using? Are those zucchini six-inchers or tending to baseball bat size? Please use more precise measurements such as cup measures for the prepped ingredients. Same thing goes for onions. My idea of a large onion may be your small. Also, giving the cut dimensions would be helpful. My cubed zucchini might your chunked zucchini. I don't want to seem too anal about the precision, but I like to try a new recipe as the creator intended so I can give it a fair trial. Thanks.

Chef John said...

Yes, you are being too anal. Like I've told you many times before, for something like this, I'll put in different amounts of each item, every time. I've never made this the same way twice. This just happens to be what I used this version. Also, you can SEE the size of the vegetable in the video, if you're really that worried. I know you've been after this for years, but it's not happening! Relax, and just cook. You decide how much to put! Exact measurements for things like this are unnecessary. Thanks for watching!

Oeil Photography said...

Chef John, why is your voice so sexy and soothing? Making this tonight for an American Indian (yes it's native American month) lunch for tomorrow... thank you for your videos! I loved the smothered pork chops.

NR said...

And I always thought succotash was corn and Lima beans, and nothing else... my favorite veggie side... definitely going to try this! The lesson on farming symbiosis was also very interesting!