Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sufferin' Succotash!

Remember the cartoons featuring Sylvester The Putty-tat, the overgrown black and white cat with a horrendous speech impediment whose trademark slogan was “Sufferin’ Succotash!” For some reason that was what came to mind as I was snacking on a bowl of sweet potato, corn, and leek succotash last night. “Succotash” dates back to the 18th century and refers to a dish of corn and lima beans cooked together. In parts of the South and Midwest any mixture of vegetables prepared with lima beans and topped with lard or butter is deemed a succotash. This method of preparing veggies became a common use for dried beans and other staple grains like corn during the Great Depression. I use “succotash” to refer to any combination of corn and seasonal vegetables dressed with any fat whether lard, butter, or cream and I make them quite often. Succotashes are an easy way to make use of the wealth of summer produce or loose vegetables one has on hand. That was the case last night when I was feeling hungry but not enough to go to the store, which led me to foraging around the pantry and refrigerator. I found a single leek, a couple of ears of corn, and a lonely sweet potato tucked away behind the bread. Upon closer inspection two strips of bacon presented themselves along with a small hunk of parmesan. I rendered the bacon fat and then sautéed the uniformly cut vegetables until they were fork tender then finished the succotash with crumbled bacon bits, a splash of heavy cream, and grated parmesan. Sufferin’ succotash was an understatement; this impromptu bowl of goodness was super tasty and actually fell within the technical definition of a succotash given the lard and corn components. Go out and experiment with succotash, at the very least it is fun to say and reminds one of cartoons. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

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