Mrs. Barnabas Churchill’s Succotash

from Edible Notables by Paula Marcoux, winter 2010-11

Thanks to author James W. Baker for this nineteenth-century recipe, which is so clearly-written it scarcely needs explication:

• 1 quart large white beans
• 6 quarts hulled corn
• 6 – 8 lb. corned beef
• 1 lb. salt pork
• 4 – 6 lb chicken
• 1 large French white turnip
• 8 – 10 medium sized potatoes.

Soak beans overnight. In the morning simmer in soft water until beans are soft enough to mash and water is nearly absorbed. About eight o’clock, put salt pork and corned beef into very large kettle of cold water. Skim as they begin to boil.

Clean and truss chicken and add to meat about 1¼ hours before dinner time. Allow longer if fowl is used. Be sure to have plenty of water in kettle. Two hours before dinner time put mashed beans and hulled corn into kettle with some of the fat from the meat to keep them from sticking. Add enough liquor [stock] from the meat so that the mixture will absorb it all but not be too dry. Cut turnip into inch slices, add to meat about eleven o’clock. Add potatoes, one half hour later. Remove chicken when tender and serve whole. Serve beef and pork together, the chicken, turnip, and potatoes in separate dishes, – the beans and corn in the Succotash Bowl. The meat generally salts the mixture enough. Save the liquor from the meat to warm the corn and beans the next day, serving the meat cold. Like many other dishes, this is better warmed over.

Cook’s Notes: The explicit timing of this recipe assumes you are eating your succotash as the mid-day meal. Halving the original recipe makes a vast amount for most applications. The beans are of course dry and the hulled corn is dry hominy, which takes a little work to acquire; check the Hispanic section of the grocery store and substitute canned hominy, if that’s what you can find. Taste for salt as you add the vegetables and correct the seasoning.

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