Well, let me tell ya, this ain’t that “sufferin’ succotash”. In fact, it’s quite the opposite to that mushy, bland thing Sylvester the cat might have come across to come up with his frustrated signature expletive. With this one, he might be jolly excited and happy to change his narrative.
Why not? Look at the colors, textures and flavors coming from every little component of this super simple, humble affair. It’s nothing but a savory mélange of corn and beans at its core, enhanced by sweet tangy cherry tomatoes with crunchy peppers, along with the freshness of herbs. It all comes together with loads of butter that amplifies the sweetness of corn, and finally that unmistakable bacon.
This colorful veggie loaded platter is perfect to balance out those carbs at your Thanksgiving table. Yes, this is one of the earliest Thanksgiving classics. If there is a side dish that evokes Americana even before organized America existed, it’s Succotash!!
If this multi colored platter screams summer to you, that doesn’t mean you can only make it happen in the sunshine months. Yes, it’s great with fresh sweet corn and beautiful summer tomatoes at their peak, but you can bring back those summer favorites anytime of the year with frozen corn and whatever else you want to throw in. It’s very accommodating. It’s more like that salad that you bring together in a hurry and can go so great with so many meals.
What is Succotash?
Succotash is corn mixed with some more harvest bounties. A truly noble dish with a long history. We have 17th century Native Americans of New England to thank for it. They introduced this stew-like thing to the struggling colonial immigrants. Composed of ingredients unknown to Europeans at that time, it became a standard meal in settlers’ kitchens.
The name is somewhat Anglicized, trying to say the Narragansett Indian word “msickquatash”. It refers to a simmering pot of corn, to which other ingredients were added, most often some kind of beans along with squash.
There was winter succotash made from dried corn, dried beans and pumpkin, or summer succotash made with fresh sweet corn, shelling beans and tender summer squash. Fresh or dried meat or fish were common additions.
Fast forward a century or two and succotash evolved to become a side dish, rather than a meal itself. Any number of variations now exists, the two constants being corn and beans, usually but not alway lima beans, originally from Peru. Succotash moved fast and far from the Northeast all the way to the south in various regional forms.
Some recipes demand salted pork belly or bacon, while others call for milk, butter or cream. Tomatoes, okra, peppers, pimentos, black eyed peas and zucchini are regional favorites that you might see in this mix. Succotash was very popular during the great depression in the United States because of the relatively inexpensive and readily available ingredients.
Today we have these goodies in this pretty Succotash
- Corn – You can either use fresh corn or frozen, depending on the availability. If using fresh corn, husk and cut the kernels off the cob. In the case of frozen corn, thaw it before cooking.
- Lima beans – We are using frozen.
- Cherry tomatoes – I love them so much I even made a post about my 25 favorite cherry tomato recipes.
- Bell peppers – Any colors you can lay your hands on. They add more veggie depth of flavors.
- Sweet onion – White or yellow.
- Garlic – Just a hint.
- Butter – Goes yum with corn.
- Fresh Herbs – Think parsley, basil, thyme, tarragon or chives… or mix and match.
- Salt & Pepper
How to make Succotash
Now this one cooks quick and fast, more like a warm salad.
Start by cooking frozen lima beans in water. Bring to a boil and simmer them for 8-10 minutes until they are tender. Drain and set aside.
While beans are simmering, cook the bacon in a skillet for about 7-8 minutes till it crisps up. Crumble and set aside.
In the bacon drippings, sauté chopped onions along with bell peppers and garlic for a few minutes.
Stir in corn along with salt and pepper. In the case of fresh corn, you might need to cook it a little more till it softens, but still retains the crunch. Time to add in drained lima beans. Mix in butter and combine well.
Remove from heat and then stir in cherry tomato halves. This way they don’t get mushy. Then toss in herbs.
For a final touch, in goes the bacon… yum… perfect!
Didn’t I tell you, it’s easy. Perfect holiday side dish contender.
What to serve Succotash with?
- Most important, it’s excellent with your turkey and the rest of the Thanksgiving affair.
- On the bed of succotash, place that perfectly baked or grilled salmon or any other fish. Or how about some seared scallops? So good.
- It goes great with some nice steak.
- Leftovers? No problemo. In a skillet full of succotash, make a few nests with a spoon and plop in some eggs. Your new succotash shakshuka for breakfast.
- How about a succotash casserole? All you need is to make some white cheese sauce. Mix it with the succotash, sprinkle more cheese on top and bake. Easy.
A few variations
- Add any other veggies like zucchini, yellow squash or green beans, or any other shelling beans. You can even try black eyes or navy beans.
- You can make it vegan by omitting the bacon and frying the veggies in olive oil.
- Give it a Louisiana flair by adding Cajun or creole seasoning. Swap andouille sausage for bacon.
- Play with different herbs.
- Want to make it more protein rich? Add cooked lobster chunks or cooked shrimp to the mix… All good.
- Sufferin’ Succotash: One can of corn, one can of limas, salt & pepper (my husband’s recipe).
So, are you ready this year to try one of probably the oldest Thanksgiving dishes and move the tradition forward to 2020?
We all have been through a lot this year, but at the end of it we still have so many small little big things to be thankful for. So even if you are hunkered down with only your household this Thanksgiving, rather than a big table full of loved ones… Eat… Drink… be Thankful!! 🙏🙏
Succotash, in my Gypsy Bowl… enjoy!
Try these other great sides on your holiday spread!
Southern Squash Casserole
Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Thanksgiving Kale Salad
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Rice Casserole
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Cherry Tomato Gratin
Lazy Sweet Potato Mash
Butternut Squash Blossom
While you’re here, be sure to check out my roundup of the best corn recipes.
- 3 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 2 cups lima beans, frozen
- 3 bacon slices
- 1 small onion, white or yellow, chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small orange bell pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into thin strips
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cook frozen lima beans according to the instructions on the package. We placed them in water and brought to a boil and simmered for 8-10 minutes, until beans were tender. Drain and set aside.
- Thaw corn, if using frozen.
- Fry bacon in a skillet till crisp. Remove to a plate and crumble..
- Discard excess bacon drippings, keeping around 2 Tbsp in the skillet. Sauté onion, bell peppers and garlic in bacon drippings for 3-4 minutes, until slightly tender. Stir in corn and lima beans along with salt and pepper. Combine well and cook for a couple of minutes. In the case of fresh corn, add before lima beans and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes, then add lima beans.
- Add in butter and mix well.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in cherry tomatoes and basil leaves and top it all with crumbled bacon.
- You can add any other herbs on hand like thyme, parsley, tarragon or chives.
- We used red and orange bell peppers but any other bell peppers will add even more color to your succotosh.
- Make a vegetarian succotash by skipping bacon and cooking the veggies in butter. For vegan, replace butter with olive oil.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 247Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 21mgSodium 197mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 7gSugar 9gProtein 10g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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