Monday, June 1, 2015

Italian Succotash

Succotash is a traditional dish in the US and quite popular in the American South. My family rarely had succotash on the dinner table, however I fondly remember the cartoons where Sylvester being thwarted by Tweetie Bird would mutter "Sufferin Succotash" under his breath. 

Traditionally, succotash is a dish that consists of lima beans and corn, however sometimes other bean varieties are used and other ingredients are added such as bacon, ham, peppers or even a crust on top that makes it more like a pot pie. I thought it might be fun to give this traditional American dish a bit of European flare with some Italian influence. I suppose I should say here that this is not an Italian dish… This is simply my interpretation of succotash, influenced by other Italian dishes I've had in the past. I've dispensed with lima beans and bacon in favor of pancetta and cannellini beans. Also, the Vermouth or white wine listed below is optional, however I'd strongly encourage it for deglazing the pan which gives the dish more flavor and helps make it easier to clean later.

2 cans cannelini beans
75g butter
150g sweet corn
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
150ml double cream
150g pancetta cubes
1 tablespoon garlic olive oil
Splash of Vermouth or dry white wine (optional)

1. Rinse and drain the beans. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a flame-proof casserole or non-stick frying pan and cook the pancetta until bronze. Then remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

3. In the same casserole or frying pan, melt the butter, stirring to combine it with the oil that's left in the pan. Add a splash of Vermouth or dry white wine and stir to deglaze the pan, allowing it to bubble away for a minute or two.

4. Add the corn and beans and stir to coat in the buttery mixture. Continue to cook and stir for about 4 minutes.

5. Add the pancetta and stir in the cream gradually. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and bring to the boil before reducing the heat to low and simmering uncovered for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the cream thickens.

6. Serve hot.

Succotash makes a lovely side dish, especially for special occasion meals such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, however I like on its own as a meal served with a bit of white rice. It's easy to whip up, quite filling and delicious when served this way.

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