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.
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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