Three Sisters Succotash

Corn, Beans, and Squash are a timeless combination, and especially delicious in this classic New England dish.

We just about live on vegetables this time of year. There are so many wonderful delights just asking to be taken home from the farm stand. Red swaths of tomatoes are everywhere, squashes are turning up in their vibrant colors, beans are abundant, and the sweet September corn is at its best, but whispers that it won’t be long before it is but a memory until next year.

I will miss the corn when it’s gone, but for now, I’m still enjoying its marvelous flavor.

A New England classic

One of the dishes I love to make in Corn Season is the New England classic succotash. A simple dish of corn and shell beans, usually lima beans, it can be enhanced with tomatoes, beans, onions, turnips, and probably any other seasonal vegetable.

Centuries old

Succotash comes from the native American word “m’sickquatash” which means either broken or boiled corn kernels depending on the source of the information. The native population taught the colonists this dish, which always had corn for a base with a shell bean added. Although succotash now almost exclusively uses lima beans, the original New England native Americans would have used other types of shell beans that grow better in the short growing season of the northeast.

This time around, I decided to use some lovely local green beans rather than the lima or shelling beans, and this changed the dish considerable. So delicious! 

Three Sisters Succotash

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small purple onion, minced
  • 1 sweet red frying pepper, small dice
  • 1 poblano pepper, small dice
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups butternut squash, small dice
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, chopped
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 2 tbsp. butter of choice
  • A few herbs of choice, minced, optional
  • Juice of one lemon

Prep the vegetables. Mince the onion, dice the red and poblano pepper into small pieces, about ¼ of an inch. Finely mince the jalapeno, and crush the garlic through a press. Cut the squash into ¼-inch dice, and cut the corn off the cobs. Now you’re ready to cook!

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high and add the onion and peppers. Sauté for a minute or so and add the garlic and squash. Reduce the heat to medium/low.

Continue cooking for two or three minutes, or until the squash just starts to soften. Add the corn and green beans, and cook until the vegetables are at the stage of soft you prefer.

Stir in the butter, take the pan off the heat, and add salt and pepper to your liking. Toss in a few herbs if you like, I added a bit of fresh basil here because it was sitting on my counter and it was perfect. Taste and correct the seasoning if needed. Sprinkle with lemon juice to brighten it up, and you can add a bit more butter here if you like.

Plate and enjoy, offering a little thank-you to those guests at the table who came so many centuries before.

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  1. Bernadette says:

    Great idea using the fresh green beans. Sometimes I add cherry tomatoes.

    1. Oh yes Bernie, cherry tomatoes are wonderful in a succotash, and there are lots of those around right now!

  2. Succotash is such a great combination of vegetables. Great variation. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ronit! We love switching it up, but even the absolute basic is pretty wonderful.

  3. Gail says:

    That corn is so appealing, I found myself staring at the photo. Childhood memories of playing hide-and-seek in the cornfields raced across my mind. 🌽🍃

    1. I got lost in a cornfield once. Of course, I was a teenager and there may have been some adult beverages involved…

      1. Gail says:

        Whaaat??? Not you. No way, no how. I just do t believe it. 😜

  4. Chef Mimi says:

    Wonderful. Were jalapenos an original ingredient?! I’m surprised. But yum!

    1. The peppers were not included in the New England originals, but the corn, squash, and beans migrated to the northeast natives from the indigenous people from the south west and Mexico where peppers were a lively part of the cuisine. So, it’s not much of a stretch to think they most likely were all used together! The fourth sister!

  5. Anonymous says:

    This looks so good! I will have to give it a try!

    1. Thanks Someone! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

  6. CarolCooks2 says:

    A great combination of beautiful fresh vegetables it sounds delicious, Dorothy 🙂

    1. Thank you Carol! It was really delicious, and equally so the next day for lunch!

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        I like dishes that are good to go the next day 🙂

  7. Wow – this looks absolutely delicious. I can almost smell it through the photo. I can tell you truthfully that I could sit down and eat a bowl of this and call it dinner.

    1. That is exactly what we did Judy!

  8. Nancy says:

    I’m off to find some corn… I hope! I will be making some harvest succotash. Thank you for the inspiration… this looks sooooooo good!

    1. Isn’t it a wonderful time of year, to be able to duck out to the farm stands and find some of the most delicious corn on the planet? Have a wonderful feast Nancy!

  9. I love your version using green beans instead of lima beans, which I can’t stand! Sounds wonderful Dorothy! I am always sad when summer corn is gone…

    1. Thanks Jenna. Lima beans are not one of my favorites either, they taste kind of dry and chalky to me unless very tiny and freshly picked. Around here, that only happens for about 20 seconds!

  10. a delicious looking vegetable dish. Great recipe.

    1. Thank our Jovina! One of our new favorites with the fresh green beans.

  11. sunisanthosh says:

    Great combination and this looks so delicious!

    1. Thank you so much! It was tasty indeed.

  12. terrie gura says:

    So, here was me… Thinking you were about to tell a story about yourself and your sisters. Then I realized, the “sisters“ are the succotash ingredients! 😂 I’m a little slow…

    I love the twist you put on this classic with the fresh green beans! It’s like you’re saying, “I see you autumn, but I’m still loving summer.“

    1. Ah, alas Terrie, I’ve only one sister! But many more not by blood!
      You are so right, let’s hold onto that summer just a bit longer.

  13. Why a great combination of flavors 😋

    1. Some of the best of the season here!

  14. That sounds and looks delicious!

    1. Thank you, it’s a classic around here!

  15. nancyc says:

    I’ve never made this, but I want to now—it looks delicious! 🙂

    1. You will be very happy indeed!

  16. Succotash with sweet corn YUM!!!

    1. Noting better this time of year!

  17. This sounds delicious! Thanks for the idea.

    1. You’re welcome! It is one of our seasonal favorites by far, with a twist or two here and there.

  18. This sounds very nice, Dorothy. I may try this as an accompaniment to our Christmas dinner.

    1. You’ll love it Robbie! One of our favorites.

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