The succotash I grew up eating was a simple side dish of lima beans, corn, onion, black pepper, and a big hunk of butter. But despite my familiarity with the basic version, I am open to different interpretations of the dish (as long as it still contains butter, corn, and limas, of course). This creole succotash from the Treme cookbook is kind of like a tricked out version of the classic. In addition to the requisite vegetables, you'll find okra, celery, bell pepper, shrimp, and two kinds of pork. Crushed tomatoes bring all of the moving parts together for a succotash that's bold enough to be served on its own.
Why I picked this recipe: Summer is the time to make succotash of all stripes.
What worked: I liked that this meatier version could be served as a single, hearty main dish. It also couldn't have been easier to throw together.
What didn't: Even with the extra pork, the final dish lacked a little oomph. To amp things up, be sure to find strongly flavored andouille and ham. The shrimp didn't need the full 15 minutes to cook through—pull the pot off the heat as soon as they all turn pink.
Suggested tweaks: Sautéeing the aromatics and sausage would add a good base of flavor to the succotash if you want to add a couple of extra steps. Sauté the sausage first, and wait to add it back to the pot until everything has simmered for a bit.
Reprinted with permission from Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans by Lolis Eric Elie. Copyright 2013. Published by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 pound fresh or frozen okra, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound fresh or frozen lima beans
- 1 pound fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 pound smoked pork sausage, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch slices
- 1 pound boneless smoked ham, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 bay leaves
- Pinch of dried thyme
- 1/2 to 1 cup water, if needed
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Hot cooked rice for serving
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and celery and stir to coat well in the fat. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the okra, lima beans, corn, sausage, ham, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook, still uncovered, until vegetables are soft, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture seems dry toward the end of the cooking time, stir in water to moisten, a little at a time, then cover the pan and continue cooking.
Reduce the heat to low and stir in the shrimp. Cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are cooked through and the flavors have blended, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Mound the rice on large plates, spoon the succotash over the rice, and serve at once.