Now you may think succotash is a strange topic for a blog, and what can you say about it other than it taste good and post the recipe (recipe to follow).
After work today I was trying to decide what I was going to have for dinner so I looked in the fridge and I saw bacon, corn, okra, and onions. So I kept digging and there were some tomatoes and some sweet peppers so succotash came to mind. While doing my mise en place (I learned that from my daughter, she’s a chef) I started thinking about my mom. Back in the day on Friday night there would be fried fish and succotash would often be a part of the menu. An unlikely pairing but OMG was it delicious. There might also be some collard greens and some hot water cornbread.
What I remember most about those days was the comradery between my mother and my Aunt Ethel. They were BFF’s before we had any of these sms abbreviations or shortcuts. My mother would go pick up Aunt Ethel (she didn’t drive) and there was trip to the fish market, the liquor store and A&P store if needed before we got back home. Once we arrived home it was all hands on deck, I earned my cooking chops from those women. There was no such things as the young people sat in another room and played on their video games and cell phones while the adults prepared the meal, everyone helped, you were assigned a job to do and given directions how to do it and supervised.
There would be music playing in the background Al Green or Marvin Gaye or Bobby Womack. My mother and my aunt would be trading stories about the events of the week and what was happening within the family. The liquor was poured, cigarettes were lit and we (me, my sister and my cousin Nellie) would be listening to the “grown folks” conversations. Over the years whether these get together’s were at our house or at Aunt Ethel’s house a lot of wisdom was imparted to us as young ladies and later young women.
I have wonderful memories of those times with my mother and Aunt Ethel, those women played a major role in the person that I am today. They taught me the importance family and friendship. They taught me the importance of being a responsible person and being a positive influence to those that I come in contact with. I love them and I miss them terribly, and they both live on in my memories.
My mother’s succotash recipe
Bacon (in my healthy version I leave this out)
Onion (my mom used cooking onions, I use sweet onions)
Bell pepper (I use sweet yellow, red and orange pepper)
Okra (frozen or fresh)
Corn (frozen or fresh cut off the cob)
Black pepper, seasoned salt and red pepper seeds (to taste).
Olive oil (not a part of my mom’s recipe)
Let me explain, nothing was measured it is done by look and taste.
I use a 12 in everyday pan. My mom used a cast iron skillet.
Render the fat out of 4 slices of bacon, cook the bacon until it is crisp and set it aside on a paper towel.
Pour half the bacon fat out of the skillet and then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
Add the onions and garlic to the pan, season with black pepper and seasoned salt and cook until the onions are translucent. Taste.
Add the peppers and the corn and re-season (taste to make sure you don’t over or under season) if you’re using frozen corn you may need to add a little water to the pan, the milk from fresh corn adds a whole other level of sweetness and creaminess to the dish. Cook until the corn is tender (about 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat). Here is where I add the red pepper seeds (jalapenos can be used instead of red pepper seeds if you like more heat).
Add the okra (frozen okra will take longer to cook that fresh) stir and taste (re-season if needed). Cook for about 10 minutes and add the tomatoes last (stir, taste and re-season if needed) and cook for another 10 minutes.