Tuesday 27 November 2012

Three Sisters Succotash

Many of you will be aware that I tried this year (unsuccessfully) to create a Three Sisters vegetable bed, combining the traditional squash, corn and beans.

Well, the Squash was a complete failure, and the Sweet Corn produced in total enough for one paltry 2-person serving, but at least the beans were good.

Those beans are "Cherokee Trail of Tears" ones, and the pods were full of small glossy black beans, which I dried and stored away for future use. Last weekend I decided to use some of them to create a dish loosely based on the idea of Succotash.

Cooking this dish is in truth not a great culinary challenge, it's mainly an "assembly job". The key thing is to get all three main ingredients cooked to the right degree without anything going mushy, so you can't just put them all in a pan and boil them up. I therefore pre-cooked the beans (after soaking them in water for several hours). Likewise I cooked the Butternut Squash first, and added the beans and Sweet Corn later on.

So this is my recipe: (Serves 2)

75g dried beans, such as Cherokee Trail of Tears
Half a medium-sized Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed (approx 250g prepared weight)
250g Sweet Corn (I used ready-cooked corn, but if you are using fresh corn then pre-cook it)
500ml stock (I used chicken stock)
1 red pepper or chilli (optional) - for added colour - finely diced

Pre-cook the (soaked) beans - about an hour
Cook the squash in the stock - 5-10 mins
When the squash is nearly done, add the beans
Simmer for a few more minutes to complete the cooking of the squash and thoroughly warm the beans
Add the Sweet Corn and chilli, continue simmering until warmed through
Season to taste
Drain the dish through a sieve, reserving the cooking liquour
Arrange the vegetables in your chosen serving-dish. If they look too dry, adjust the moisture level by adding some of the reserved liquour.

Serving suggestion.
I think this dish goes well with Pork chops, cured Pork Loin, Gammon steaks, or bacon; possibly Black Pudding - basically anything pig-derived! (Vegetarians, you can omit this part.) I also served it with rice.

We had a pair of lovely Pork Chops bought on our local Farmers' Market. They were from Greenfield Pork Products, based near Andover, Hampshire, about 35 miles from Fleet. Here's a picture of the chops marinating:

My marinade was a mixture of olive oil, garlic, fennel seeds, dried oregano, black pepper and a little dusting of Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. (I'm not following any recipe here, you understand. I just thought that sounded like a nice mixture.)

As a crunchy garnish to add texture to my dish I dry-fried the seeds from the Butternut Squash, cooking them until they were just beginning to go brown. Done like that they taste really nutty - rather like toasted pine-nuts.

Here's the finished Succotash:-

and in close-up, with the toasted seeds added:-

And with the Pork chops and rice:-

This dish turned out to be a lot more special than I had expected: the pork was tender and succulent, and strongly scented with the fresh (home-grown) Fennel seeds; and the chilli in the Succotash was a lot hotter than I was expecting. I used a couple of those little "Turkey" chillis, which are usually not particularly hot - except today!

Even the rice was special: it was a selection of brown Basmati, red Camargue and Wild rice - a really good mix of colours, tastes and textures.

Well, I'm not sure whether it's authentic Succotash, but I liked it!


  1. I'm not a big succotash fan as I hate lima beans. But yours have black beans which I just adore. And just about anything with black beans and corn is wonderful.

  2. I've never heard of succotash but it looks really tasty. That looks like my kind of meal.

  3. Not sure about the black pudding! One of our local farm shops sells pork and black pudding sausage.

  4. Sure looks good, and I like the idea of incorporating the toasted seeds!


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