Monday, October 13, 2008

S-S-S-Suffering Succotash!

Like any other red-blooded American child, I abhorred beans with a passion. And lima beans were particularly nasty given their size. If one bean was bad, one lima bean was three times as bad. Luckily, we did not have them often, and rarely by themselves. They usually came in the package of frozen mixed vegetables my mother would serve on the occasional unfortunate night. I don't remember what she would usually make as the main dish; all I remember is sitting at the table, staring down at my plate, hoping against all hope that the offending legumes would roll off the table and out the door like that errant meatball of song.

Over the years, I had some experiences that changed some of my feelings towards beans. The first one I can think of was the first time my mother doctored up a can of Van Camp's Pork and Beans with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dried minced onions, and brown sugar and served it with our hot dogs. Yum! It's no wonder I loved it - with all that sugar you could hardly tell the beans were even in there. Which might explain why I had no trouble eating those beans any time they were placed before me, and would even go back for seconds.

My next experience was at my best friend's house when I was around nine or ten. Her mother was getting ready to cook green beans for dinner. She asked me if I liked them, and I had to say that no, in fact, I didn't. "Have you ever had fresh?" she asked. I admitted that no, I hadn't. "I bet you'll like these," she said. And I did. And oddly enough, even the canned and frozen ones I had previously hated became more palatable.

And then , when I was in high school, my father started making huge batches of turkey soup using the carcasses from Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys every year. He threw pretty much everything but the kitchen sink into the pot, including lima beans. And I was surprised to discover that I enjoyed the occasional bean that found its way onto my spoon. I wasn't ready to eat them in mass quantities, but I no longer hated them.

And then I ran into these fresh lima beans at the green market this Saturday. I have never seen them before, and I just couldn't resist buying them and bringing them home with me.

But what to do with them? As much as I have come to enjoy them, I really wasn't up to just cooking them up and eating them by themselves.

I still have a couple of bags of frozen corn fresh off some ears Mary brought me from Michigan last month, so I thought I might tackle succotash, the idea of which has fascinated me ever since Sylvester first uttered his trademark phrase. Since I couldn't think of anything else to do with it, I went online and looked through some cookbooks to see what I could find.

I was happy to discover that some recipes use tomato, like the one I opted to use that I found here. I tweaked it a bit, and got to work.

All I have to say is "Wow." Who knew lima beans and corn could taste so good together.

The original recipe called for about half a cup of butter. I'm sure it would be sinfully delicious that way, and I may try it some day, but it was pretty darn tasty cooked in oil, and much healthier too.
Home Cookin Chapter: Beans and Vegetables

serves 6

2 Tbsp canola oil
2 cups fresh lima beans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
4 ears fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in lima beans and cook about 10 minutes more.

Add tomatoes and sugar and cook another 10-20 minutes more, until lima beans are tender and tomatoes have thickened.

Add corn and cook ten minutes more.

Loosely adapted from recipe submittd by Michele O'Sullivan on

Exported from Home Cookin 5.6 (

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