Sufferin’ Succotash!” Sylvester the cat’s famous sputter was all I knew about succotash until a few weeks ago. What I found out about this mysterious dish was surprising — its ties to our roots as Americans make it the perfect dish to add to your Thanksgiving table.
The word succotash is derived from the American Indian word ‘misickquatash,’ meaning ear of corn, used by the Narragansett, who lived in what is now Rhode Island.
The original dish is believed to have included corn and beans. Misickquatash, called succotash by the settlers, was a staple in early American households because of the availability of ingredients. The dish was popular in the East and spread to some areas of the South over the years.
After falling out of use as prosperity spread, succotash recipes are enjoying a revival of sorts, with more and more chefs adding the dish to their menus and creating their own versions of this traditional American dish.
If you’d like to include succotash in your holiday meal planning, I have included a version by Chef Jonathan Poyourow, of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.
This recipe is served over Israeli couscous, but you will find succotash accompanied by rice, potatoes or served alone as a colorful side dish. Not only will you have a tempting new dish for everyone to try this year, but you can impress them with a history lesson too! Happy Thanksgiving!
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded, deveined, diced
2 medium zucchini, seeded, deveined, diced seeded, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups dried Lima beans
3 cups fresh/frozen corn kernels
1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes, seeded, deveined, diced seeded, diced with juices, coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Israeli couscous, to serve
In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper, zucchini, and garlic. Cook until tender and lightly browned, then place them along with the remaining ingredients (except for the Israeli couscous) into the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 5-8 hours.
Cook the Israeli couscous according to the directions on the package. Once the couscous is fully cooked, spoon into a bowl and ladle the succotash mixture on top. This makes for a nutritious and crowd-pleasing side-dish to any meal, or can be an equally satisfying vegetarian meal on its own. Serves 4.
Tamra Bolton is an East Texas based freelance writer who loves trying new food.
Photo courtesy Johnson & Wales University