No Suffering Succotash

I have fond memories of watching cartoons on television as a kid. One of my favorites was Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird from Warner Bros. "Puddy Tat," as he was known by the wily little canary, had a catch phrase that I’ll never forget — "suffering succotash."

Of course, I had no idea what succotash was then, but how the times have changed. Now, a variation of succotash is one of my favorite dishes this time of the year.

Succotash (from Narragansett msíckquatash, "boiled corn kernels") is a food dish consisting primarily of corn and lima beans or other shell beans. It also can include tomatoes and sweet green or red peppers. The dish was popular during the Great Depression because all of the ingredients could be grown in a garden.

My version of succotash contains corn off the cob, tomatoes, sweet bell pepper, onion, garlic, eggplant and okra. I mix all of the ingredients in a saute pan and cook them in a little olive oil. While it is cooking, I add about one-fourth cup of white wine, a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon or two of sugar and salt and pepper to taste. The dish is ready is about 10 minutes. Some days, if it were up to me, that’s all I would eat for a meal.

Here’s a more traditional version of succotash that also include bacon and corn left on the cob for easier eating.

Corn and Bacon Succotash with Rice
6 strips bacon
1 onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon each: salt, crushed red pepper flakes
1 15-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
4 ears corn, each cut into thirds
2 cups fresh lima beans or 1 14-ounce bag, frozen
2 cups long-grain or basmati rice, cooked to package
Heat a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat; add bacon. Cook, turning once, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove to paper-towel lined plate; crumble when cool. Add onion to skillet; cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 7 minutes.
Add bell pepper, garlic, thyme, salt and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add chicken broth; cook, stirring up any browned bits, 2 minutes. Add corn and lima beans; cook, turning corn often to cook evenly, until corn and beans are tender and liquid reduces slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon. Serve over rice.
Yield: Serve 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 753 calories, 9 percent of calories from fat, 8 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 10 milligrams cholesterol, 143 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 431 milligrams sodium, 12 grams fiber.