While everyone else is out chasing pumpkins and apples, I have been quietly collecting vegetables of the seasons gone by, the local leftover lima beans, corn, and zucchini, the former two, critical to the largely ignored autumnal toss of boiled corn and beans known as succotash. Most references to succotash hail from the Warner Brother's very dimwitted, yet endearing, sputtering cat, Slyvester, but its true and honest provenance is the American Indian Narragansett word for boiled corn, msíckquatash.
Succotash at it most basic authenticity, is no more than a mix of the two ingredients, a delightfully simple collision of creamy beans with crunchy-sweet corn kernels. Of course, I could have left my recipe at that, just an ideal pairing, but the bags I bore from the farmers market could barely get through the door, never mind into the fridge with an expectation that I would ever find them again in the crush.
Embellishing the basics was easy. Baby zucchini, carrots, leeks, and fine-quilled asparagus tips lent additional color and flavors that were distinctive but never overpowering. The light, sweet, touch of dried tarragon leaves refreshed the medley with its tiny flakes of elusive licorice-mint.
This recipe will yield side dishes for four, but if there are any leftovers, they can be added to clear or cream soup stock. Egg noodles or rice round out the meal to complete the protein and provide a generous lunch dish. You're going to need something hearty, warming, and nourishing. You have some pumpkin and apple picking to do.
Tarragon Succotash Vegetable Medley - My own recipe
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2 tablespoons butter or alternate cooking fat (oil easily will make this vegan friendly)
2 medium leek stalks, rinsed of sand and roots removed, the smooth white and green parts sliced into coins
2 baby zucchini or other summer squash, stemmed then sliced into coins
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
The tips from a full bunch of very slim asparagus (reserve remaining stalks for another use)
2 cups cooked lima beans
1 cup cooked yellow corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large skillet melt butter over low heat until it sizzles. Add leeks, zucchini, carrots, and asparagus tips. Stir with a large spoon to coat in butter. Raise heat slightly to maintain a moderate cooking temperature. Sauté vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they are just tender, but not mushy (about 6 minutes). Some of the leeks will separate into lose rings. Gently stir in lima beans and corn. Raise heat again to bring mixture to a very low simmer. Stir occasionally again until beans and corn are heated through. Remove from heat, add tarragon, salt, and pepper, gently tossing to coat. Taste for and adjust seasoning to your own preference. Serve immediately.
This zero-hour, lima-bean laden recipe is for Cathy of What Would Cathy Eat?, hosting My Legume Love Affair 39, which has just closed. Cathy is putting the finishing touches on the round-up; it will be online shortly. Do stop by with greetings and greedy eyes at all the wonderful recipes she will be presenting for us. Suma of Veggie Platter will be hosting My Legume Love Affair 40 for October. Her announcement will be published very soon.