Southwest Succotash

This dish is inspired by the classic succotash, but I have changed it to suit my tastes. I use fresh snap beans instead of limas, and I cook it fast as a sauté instead of simmering it. I season with flavors of the American Southwest. This dish has lots of sweetness and bright flavors with a pleasant crunch. The prep takes a little time, but is great for working on knife skills. However, this dish cooks up quickly and all the prep can be done well ahead of time. (Be sure to save the corn cobs to make corn stock.)


8-10 ounces green flat beans such as Scarlet Runners or Romano, trimmed and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 ears corn, kernels cut from the cobs
1 medium to small brown onion, peeled and cut into fine dice (1/4 inch)
1 green bell pepper, cut into fine dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into fine dice
2 cloves garlic, peeled, de-germed, and minced
Oil as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon each coriander seed and cumin seed, ground
1/2 tablespoon each dried oregano and thyme
Water or corn stock if needed
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced fine
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
Juice of one lime


Heat a 12 inch sauté pan over medium-high heat.

When the pan is hot, add enough oil to generously film the pan. When hot, add the beans and toss to coat them. Cook quickly, tossing frequently, to color the beans and give them a little caramelisation.

Turn down the heat to medium and make a well in the center of the beans. Add in the onions, and spread them out. Cook, stirring frequently, just until the onions turn translucent and start to soften.

Make space in the center of the pan again, add oil if the pan seems dry, and add the bell pepper dice. Allow to cook undisturbed for a minute so the peppers blister a little in some spots. Then toss the ingredients top mix them evenly.

Season with salt and pepper and add in some of the spices. Toss.

Again, make a small well in the middle, add a few drops of oil, and plop the garlic into the oil. Cook until fragrant and then mix into the rest of the ingredients.

Add the corn to the pan and toss. Cook to heat the corn. Taste the dish and add more spices if needed. If the vegetables seem to be sticking, add a few tablespoons of water of corn stock if you have it to loosen up the pan bottom.

If you wish, the dish can be served as it. OR, now would be the time to add the chili pepper and cilantro. Sprinkle evenly over the surface of the dish and toss to incorporate. Drizzle evenly with the lime juice, taste for seasoning, and serve.

Chef’s Notes and Tips:
This dish can easily be varied.

  • Use scallions or red onions instead of brown, or use a mix.
  • Use different color peppers, add more chili. Use different beans, even adding in shelling beans.
  • Try canned black beans for a very colorful contrast, just be sure to rinse the black beans well or you wind up with an unpleasant gray dish.
  • Use mint instead of cilantro, or basil.
  • The leftovers freeze well, and I like to use them in scrambled eggs with tortilla chips and cheese and avocado.

YIELD: Serves 4-6

SOURCE: Chef Andrew E Cohen

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