Before I had a garden I had a tendency to cook one vegetable at a time.
Sure, I’d throw in some onion and garlic, maybe a little tomato, like my green beans with balsamic tomatoes, bacon and basil but my summer side dishes tended to feature primarily one summer vegetable at a time. Because I was buying my vegetables at the store or farmer’s market, I tended to buy a lot of one favorite at the time, cook them, then go back and cook something else.
Now that I have a garden, my whole mentality has changed.
I have a handful of green beans that are six inches long, while the rest are days away from being ready. My zucchini is going gangbusters while my tomatoes are taking their dear sweet time considering to ripen (though my neighbor’s are overgrown!). I also have a steady supply of fresh corn from any number of neighboring farmstands nearby (we are in Nebraska after all!) and I always keep a few varieties of onion, garlic and peppers around, just to season things up right.
I realize now why so many of those older, traditional recipe’s ingredients list seemed so long. Minestrone? Tons of different veggies, a handful of each. Pasta Primavera? Same thing. Stir fry. A big chopped salad. All of these recipes are made with the idea of you growing your own food. Being sustainable. And using and cooking what you have, when it’s ripe, whether you have enough to fill a pan with one item, or many.
It’s frankly a whole different mentality for me in terms of cooking. And I kind of like it.
So . . . Southwestern Garden Succotash. . .
What makes this southwestern? The roasted green chiles. The best thing you could do to a chile, in my opinion.
And the garden part? Well, a traditional southern succotash is made with lima beans and corn. Instead, I made mine with all manner of garden green beans that I could pick (I think four different varieties made the cut), fresh corn, zucchini, tomatoes and more. And it was fabulous. A winner. And one we’ll be making often this summer. I hope you will too!
Southwestern Garden Succotash
serves four to six
- 1/2 pound of whatever type of fresh beans you have – I used a mix of predominantly green beans (though some were purple!) and a small amount of fresh shelled beans. Cut green beans into one inch lengths.
- 4 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut off
- 3 large poblano peppers
- 1 cup of diced zucchini or other summer squash (mine was diced quite small, just a little larger than the kernels of corn)
- 1 to 2 tomatoes, depending on how much you like them, and how many you have! I only had one, but would have added a second if I had it!
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1/2 cup of chopped ham or bacon (smoked turkey is also good, if you have it, but I’d make sure to still sneak in a little pork product!)
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper)
Before you make the succotash, roast the chiles. . .
In a dry cast iron skillet, roast the poblano chiles until the skins are black and charred. Remove to a bowl and top with plastic wrap tightly to steam for fifteen minutes. After about fifteen minutes, remove skin under running cold water, then dice and store until ready to cook (this can be done a few hours in advance, if need be). Seeds can be removed or left in, depending on the level of heat you prefer and how hot your peppers are . . .
To make the succotash:
In that same cast iron skillet, heat to a medium heat then cook diced bacon or heat ham until cooked, leaving grease. Add shallots and diced green chiles and allow to cook until almost translucent, about five minutes. Add green beans and shelled beans and continue to cook for about five minutes before adding butter then corn kernels, garlic and zucchini and cook for another two or three minutes. Finally, reduce heat to medium-low, add diced fresh tomatoes and cream and cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Test beans for doneness, cook a little longer if needed, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
PS – Don’t like or have green beans? Check out my recipe for calabacitas . . . it’s got a similar flavor profile and is another summertime staple!