Southern Succotash

“Sufferin’ Succotash” 

That’s just one of the many catch phrases uttered from Sylvester the cat and Daffy Duck, but folks, I’m here to tell ya, once you get the skillet going and start stirring – the only suffering is having to wait.

Popular here in the states during the Great Depression because of the relatively inexpensive garden fresh list of ingredients, succotash is often cooked in casserole form and with a piecrust on top. Not down here in the south. Nope. No sir-ree. No will do.

Early in the 1800’s up in New England, baby lima’s and freshly scraped corn were creamed together with butter making for their version of succotash. Every region has a story on how to make the real version. Some folks say their’s is the purist form, the real deal. But let’s get real. And let’s think about the name for a moment. Succotash. Does that sound like a name invented by European settlers? The Native Americans introduce succotash to the pilgrims, the Narragansett Indians from Rhode Island to be precise. The word “msickquatash” loosely translates into broken boiled bits of corn. They taught the settlers to add pieces of meat for flavoring. And the part I like best is that butter beans are not native to North American soils whatsoever. They are native to South America and brought here by the Europeans.

Like I said, every region has it’s own thing going on when making succotash and I can’t help but show favoritism on the south’s version with the added okra and tomatoes. The one thing that most recipes, with the combination of corn and beans, have in common is the make up of proteins which collectively, makes a compete protein. The two go together so well you’ll often even see them planted together as corn takes nitrogen out of the soil and beans replenishes it.

Enough rambling, succotash has suffered enough already … Folks, this is nothing but summertime in a skillet. Enjoy!

Southern Succotash

1 medium onion, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 stick of butter, margarine or bacon renderings
4 fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
2 pounds fresh butter beans, blanched
2 pounds fresh okra, sliced
5 large ears of corn, cut and scraped from cob

    Sauté the onion, celery, bell pepper in butter or bacon renderings until tender in a large skillet or stockpot. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper to taste and Worcestershire. Simmer on medium low for 30 minutes.

    Add the butter beans and okra and cook until the butter beans are almost tender.

    Stir in the corn. I sometimes like to cut the kernels twice from the cobs as in making creamed corn. Cutting in half, then again almost to the cob and scraping into a bowl to collect the milk from the cobs. Collecting the juice from the cobs will help thicken the succotash.

    Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. If it remains too juicy, mix a little cornstarch with water and stir into the skillet until desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

    Note: Add cooked crumbled bacon or ham bits to the skillet when adding the corn if desired.

    15 thoughts on “Southern Succotash

    1. Mother Rimmy

      I've always wondered about Succotash. I've often seen it made on the Food Network and wanted to give it a try. I'm not sure about the stick of butter though. :)You have a great sense of humor, Drick. Love your blog posts!

    2. Trix

      Loved the food origin lesson Drick! And I think I have to agree with you – I'm partial to the Southern style as well. Yum!!

    3. Frank

      You know, even before I opened the post, my mind immediately went to Sylvester! Great minds think alike, I guess!Great recipe–and a great dish for summer. I'll definitely be trying this out. 🙂

    4. Pacheco Patty

      I think I used the term sufferin' succotash on the golf course a few times this morning, ha ha! Seriously this looks good Drick, and healthy. I also wanted to mention that I used some of the leftover rub for the beef on some chicken last night and it was delicious!

    5. Cook with Madin

      Succotash is always my favorite side dish, I always thought they're healthy.I like your version with the addition of okra and tomatoes and of course the bacon renderings. Thanks for the history lesson as well.I always love your sense of humor Drick. Have a great week.

    6. MaryMoh

      This is like a delicious, nutritious dish of mixed vegetables….yum. Must be one good for slimming 😀 Not sure whether you need it but I sure need it 😛 Thanks very much for sharing the background of this dish.

    7. Cajun Chef Ryan

      Hey Drick,This is my kind of Succotash! The combination here with the added okra and tomatoes really makes this a Southern treat indeed! And with corn on special at local markets for 5 ears @ $1.00, this is a great time to start shucking!Bon appetit!CCR=:~)

    8. Memaw's memories

      I think this is what my mother called 'Scratch'. She would make it toward the end of the garden season and use whatever she could scratch around and find. It was wonderful. She always put in okra and tomatoes. We didn't have celery. Didn't raise it here in NE Arkansas.

    9. Magic of Spice

      Oh my goodness, I have not had this dish since I was a kid. My Dad and my Aunt used to make this with Sunday family dinners. Since I do not eat meat, even then, I would pole up my plate with this kind of dish. A perfect recipe 🙂


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