Succotash

Succotash is a corn and bean dish, and can be made with any other vegetables that are plentiful in your garden, or at the market.

It’s so strange how little things from your childhood stay with you all of your life.

Shamelessly dating me, the old classic Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons were the platform for many of my early lessons.

My first exposure to classical music that I can remember as a toddler came with Bugs Bunny’s many visits to the symphony. Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other animated figures brought early history lessons of world wars, geography lessons for places like Hoboken, and of course those iconic phrases.

I had no idea what Sylvester the cat meant when he spat out “Sufferin’ succotash,” until much older and I enjoyed this summertime vegetable dish, but if you have a good recipe for succotash it offers only homey comfort and not disdain, unless of course you aren’t fond of vegetables.

Succotash has been around as long as our country with its first culinary reference found in 1751. It is actually a dish from Native Americans and the word succotash is derived from the Narragansett Indian word “msickquatash.”

Succotash is a corn and bean dish, and can be made with any other vegetables that are plentiful in your garden, or at the market. The key is the seasoning.

This is a dish that needs a balance of salty, sweet, acid and heat, with the umami component added with bacon. And a nice finish of cold butter brings balance and a creamy, glistening to the dish.

This week I have included my recipe for Southern succotash. Enjoy!

If you have a cooking question contact me at cher.orr@gmail.com and I’d be happy to assist!

Cheryl Orr was the chef and owner of The Cotton Gin Inn in Edenton, and Cotton Gin Inn Culinary opening soon in Downtown Edenton.

INGREDIENTS

• 1/2 pound bacon, diced

• 1 large onion, diced

• 1 small orange sweet pepper, diced

• 3 cups fresh corn off the cob, or frozen corn, thawed

• 3 cups fresh cooked butter beans, or frozen beans, thawed

• 2 cups zucchini or okra, diced, optional

• 3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 teaspoon thyme

• Pinch tarragon

• 4 tablespoons diced pimentos

• 1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon chicken stock base

• 1 teaspoon honey

• 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

• Pinch red pepper flakes

• 1 cup green onion, thinly sliced with tops

• 4 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed

• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

• 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

PREPARATION

• In a large pan or skillet on medium heat cook bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.

• In the pan with the bacon grease sauté onion and orange pepper with the thyme and tarragon until softened. Add the corn, all other vegetables and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the pimentos, vinegar, bouillon base, pepper flakes, and honey, and simmer, stirring occasionally. Stir in half of the green onion and season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and stir in cold butter.

• Serve hot topped with bacon crumbles, green onion, and parsley.

Thadd White can be reached via email at twhite@apgenc.com.