Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sufferin' Succotash

Ever give it much thought when Sylvester blurted out that phrase whenever he didn't get his way?

There has been so much written about Succotash and, as in genealogy, there is a lot of half truths. While many "authorities" say that Succotash comes from the Algonquin misckquatash, I don't believe that to be the case. See my article on corn at

In the meantime, Succotash is a great, original American Indian dish that our fore-families have enjoyed for centuries. This dish is made mostly during the Holiday times of year, which is not understood by me. It was eaten at all times of the year, whether it was when the corn was ripe to eat or in the middle of winter when they had to use their dried corn and beans.

Although fava and lima beans were the original beans used for this dish, I have substituted Great Northern, only because my kids won't touch either one of the other two. Clabbard, or Clapboard, beans were used during the 18th and 19th centuries more often than not as well.

I have also used a variety of vegetables in this Yankee staple too, but have omitted any protein, although the Indians and colonists used whatever meat or fish they had on hand. Succotash is great by itself as a side dish or as a base for meat or fish. It is as tasty as it is colorful.

Enjoy these three recipes that highlight our heritage and simplicity as well as being the original colony of comfort foods, the New England colony.

Creamy New England Succotash

Without going into a long spiel about the beginnings of Succotash and variations over the years, I will simply tell you this is probably as good of a true Yankee dish as you are going to enjoy. True Succotash used chicken, pork or whatever protein the family had and cooked it with beans, corn and onion. They would then add some milk to the pot and let it get a little thick before serving it to their family. I have added some more vegetables but have kept the true recipe intact. I think you will enjoy this trip back in time, with a modern approach.

3 strips bacon, diced
1 small summer squash, diced*
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, minced
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn
1 cup cooked navy beans
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet or pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Leaving the bacon and fat in the pan, add the squash, zucchini, bell pepper and onion. Stirring occasionally, cook until vegetables are crisp tender. In a bowl, whisk together the milk and sour cream until well incorporated; set aside.

Add the corn, beans and milk mixture and salt and pepper to taste. continue cooking, stirring occasionally still, until everything is heated through and most of the liquid has been absorbed, another 5-7 minutes.

*or use zucchini or a combination of each

Cheesy Succotash Grill

Want a great and filling grilled cheese sandwich that is truly filling? Here it is, and using Succotash ingredients gives you the satisfaction of protein without the fat. As you know, Succotash has been around for centuries here in New England and many moons before us Europeans coming over. This is, yet again, one of the true, great food gifts bestowed upon us from the Native Americans.

2 small pita breads

Pumpkin Mayonnaise, recipe below
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese
1 cup whole kernel corn
1/2 small diced tomato
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup cooked great northern beans*
1/2 cup diced, cooked chicken


With a sharp knife, insert it into the pita bread and cut around it to form two thin halves. Repeat with other pita. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper; mix well; set aside. Spray the outer outer half of two pitas and place in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Spread some Pumpkin Mayonnaise and top with equal amounts of half the cheese, corn, tomato, onion, beans and chicken. Sprinkle remainder of the cheese over both and top with the other halves of the pita, with more Pumpkin Mayonnaise spread over each. Cook, flattening down with a spatula, until it is starting to crisp. Carefully flip over to finish crisping on the other side. Remove and enjoy.

*Lima, fava, kidney or cooked pinto beans would be equally delicious

Tempting Jagasse

Not many people know, or even heard, of Jagasse. In the early 1800s, fishermen along the Massachusetts coast were also farmers in their 'non-fishing' time. Of course their families had their fill of fish in meals and this dish gave them a subtle hint of the ocean while enjoying the bounty of the garden as well. They used whole fish in their Jagasse, but just the hint of the ocean is all that is needed in this delicious, original Yankee recipe derived from Succotash.

2 strips bacon, diced
1 cup fish broth or clam juice
1/2 small summer squash, diced*
1/2 small zucchini, diced
1 cup whole kernel corn
1/2 cup red bell pepper, minced
1/4 cup minced onion
1 cup cooked navy beans
2 cups cooked rice
1(15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste


In a large pot, add the bacon and cook until crispy over medium heat. With the bacon and fat still in pot, add the fish broth. Boil for 3 minutes before adding the squash, zucchini, corn, red bell pepper and onion. Stirring occasionally, cook until the vegetables are just barely tender. Add beans, rice, tomato sauce, garlic and onion powders, red pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and continue cooking until everything is heated through.


Enough for 4 side dishes


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Delicious Chef. And I have never heard of Jagasse but am going to try it. Thanks and keep 'em coming