Sufferin’ Succotash! Haha, no no, you haven’t stumbled upon and old Loony Toons episode with Sylvester the cat! I just can’t seem to say “succotash” all on it’s own!
While succotash is a popular dish in the south of the US, I’ve always seen as it as an American Indian dish. I was always interested in “indians” when I was little, and I still have a copy of “The World of the American Indian” – a fantastic National Geographic book that my mom gave me one Christmas. I was just about to add “before we all learned that indian was not the proper term for these peoples.” However, I just read that quite a few of the indigenous peoples of America, actually prefer the term “American Indian” over “Native American” and I’m good with that!
The word succotash means “boiled corn kernels with lima beans” and comes from the Narragansett word sohquttahhash. Narragansett is an extinct Algonquian language formerly spoken in what is today Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and even Long Island. And seeing as how I’m from Connecticut, how could I not like succotash!?
Every part of the world has it’s staple crops: rice in Asia, potatoes in England and Ireland, and of course, corn in the Americas. And corn is the star of this dish, with lima beans as the supporting actor. At first, I couldn’t find lima beans anywhere in Stockholm, so I bought soybeans. Then, when I was jusssst about to give up, I found a can of organic beans, where the label read “Butter Beans” in English and then under that “limabönor” (lima beans, in Swedish)! Go figure! I decided to use a 50/50 mix, blending old traditions with new. And well, those soybeans added a wonderfully rich green to this colorful dish! So my version here is made with fresh corn, lima beans, soybeans, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, margarine, shallots, garlic, thyme, chives with some marinated smoked tofu.
Combining a grain (corn) with a legume (the beans) results in a dish that is high in all essential amino acids – the ones our bodies cannot produce on their own. Amino acids are at the core of our body’s metabolic processes. If we don’t get enough of these essential amino acids the body might have difficulty making the proteins needed for ordinary, everyday functions, and we’d end up being malnourished. Another very important point, is that our bodies cannot store amino acids like they do with things like carbohydrates or fat. So, to make sure we get enough of them we have to eat them daily. In other words – plant-based diets including grains and legumes as part of their normal daily intake rock! (Apart from being cheap, maybe this was another reason why this was such a popular dish during the Great Depression – it kept the body going!)
So what’s all the sufferin’ succotash about, or should I say “Th-uffein’ Th-uccotash!” with my best Sylvester lisp?! Haha. Well, that saying was actually a corruption of “Suffering Savior”, a profanity that people tried to soften a little – kind of like “Jeez!” or “Gosh!” So, for Chisth‘s thake – get goin’ and make yourself some of this awesome succotash today!
- 3 ears of corn, boiled and cut off the cob
- 7 oz (200 g) - extra-firm, smoked tofu, cubed and marinated in soy sauce and liquid smoke
- 2 Tbsps (30 ml) - vegan margarine
- 5 - 6 shallots, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ lb (ca 225 g) - lima beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ lb (ca 225 g) - soybeans
- 1 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered
- 8 oz (ca 225 g) - cherry tomatoes, halved
- a splash or two of white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp of vegetable stock powder
- a handful of finely chopped, fresh thyme
- a handful of finely chopped, fresh chives
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Marinate the tofu in about 1 Tbsp of soy sauce and 1 Tsp of liquid smoke.
- Fill a large pot of water, and start to boil.
- While you're waiting for the water to boil, melt the margarine in a large, deep frying pan and add the shallots and garlic.
- After a few minutes, when the shallots have softened, add the beans and pepper, stir and cook for a few more minutes before adding the remaining ingredients (apart from the tofu). Reduce the heat.
- Add the corn to the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes.
- Drain the marinade from the tofu and fry in a separate frying pan on medium high heat, until they get some color and/or a little crispy on the surface.
- Remove the corn from the water, use an oven mitt to hold each ear, and carefully cut the the kernels off the cob. Add the corn and fresh herbs to the vegetable mix and stir.
- Serve the succotash, topped with the smoked tofu as a main dish, part of a buffet or, optionally along with some boiled potatoes.