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Favas add colorful, flavorful twist to succotash

Recipe: Fava bean succotash with fresh corn

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Favas have big pods and beans with chewy skins that are best removed. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)


Succotash is a true American original. According to culinary lore, Native Americans introduced colonists to this mix of corn and beans – two crops that they grew (usually together). The name comes from an Algonquian word for “boiled corn kernels.”

In the late 1700s, New England recipes described succotash as “boiled corn and green beans especially limas.” Other vegetables were added to the flavorful mix and different beans substituted. Succotash evolved along with our country.

Favas work well as a substitute for limas, but these brightly colored (and meaty) beans cook in a fraction of the time. Although the peeled fava beans cook quickly, they take a while to prepare. After removal from their pods, large mature beans need to be individually skinned.

Those skins tend to be tough, chewy and bitter. Removal improves favas’ overall flavor and texture. Small, tender immature beans (under ¼ inch) can keep their skins on.

How to skin fava beans: Remove beans from pods. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Plunge beans into boiling water and boil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the skins start to wrinkle.

Drain; plunge beans into ice water or rinse under cold water. With a thumb nail or paring knife, make a slit on long side of each bean and peel off skin, one at a time. Set aside the bright green fava beans.

Two cups unshelled fava beans yields about 1 to 1-1/4 cups peeled.

Fava beans also may be frozen for later use.

Fava bean succotash

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup fava beans, peeled
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup onions, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped including green tops
1 cup fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob
½ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Peel fava beans and set side.
In a heavy saucepan, melt butter. Saute onion and celery until soft.
Add corn kernels and water; bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cover. Cook 4 minutes, until corn is almost tender.
Stir in fava beans gently. Add a little more water if necessary. Cover and cook over medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes, until beans are tender but not mushy.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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Fava bean succotash features fresh favas and corn.















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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Garden Checklist for week of June 16

Summer officially starts Thursday. The good news: No triple-digits – at least until next weekend.

* Warm weather brings rapid growth in the vegetable garden, with tomatoes and squash enjoying the heat. Deep-water, then feed with a balanced fertilizer. Bone meal or rock phosphate can spur the bloom cycle and help set fruit.

* Generally, tomatoes need deep watering two to three times a week, but don't let them dry out completely. That can encourage blossom-end rot.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, melons, radishes, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

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