A typical succotash is made with corn, lima beans (or butter beans), cream or milk, and simple seasonings. The word succotash comes from a Native American (Narragansett) word which refers to a stew with corn. Even though the dish originated in the Northeast, it is far more popular in the South than other regions.
This straightforward version of succotash calls for fresh corn, fresh lima beans, heavy cream, and seasonings. Feel free to use frozen vegetables if that's what you have on hand, or use half-and-half instead of cream for a lighter dish. There are many possible ways to jazz up the dish. Add 1 cup of diced garden-fresh tomatoes along with the corn. Or, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of diced red bell pepper for a burst of bright color and flavor. Add a clove of minced garlic with the lima beans for subtle garlic flavor.
A variety of herbs and spices go well with succotash. Consider chopped parsley, chives or scallion tops, sage, thyme, or cayenne pepper.
- 2 pounds lima beans (fresh, shelled)
- 6 ears of corn
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Place lima beans in just enough salted water to prevent sticking; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer the vegetables for about 25 minutes, or until the fresh beans are almost tender. Check frequently and add more water as needed.
- With a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cobs. With the dull back of the knife, scrape the liquid from cobs
- If there is still a lot of water in the cooked lima beans, drain off all but about 1/4 cup. Add the fresh corn and corn liquid to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes longer.
- Add the heavy cream and butter to the vegetables. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Continue cooking the succotash until hot.
Tips and Variations
- Edamame—immature soybeans—can stand in for the lima beans; they have twice the protein and are lower in carbohydrates. If you use edamame, cook it for about 5 minutes before you add the corn.
- Finish the creamy succotash with a grating of nutmeg.
- Succotash With Bacon and Onions: In a skillet over medium heat, cook 4 to 6 strips of bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels and crumble. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon from the skillet and add 1/2 cup of chopped onions. Cook the onions for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are translucent. Add the onions to the succotash along with the corn kernels.
- Succotash With Okra: Simmer 1 to 2 cups of sliced fresh okra along with the lima beans. Add a diced tomato when you add the corn.