Winter is on its way out where I live in Florida, and I’m already regretting it. Before you question my sanity, let me clarify that winter here is typically a three-month cool break from the steamy conditions that prevail during the rest of the year. It’s the season when I add a light, cotton sweater to my standard outfit of shorts and flip flops. And, more pertinent to my purposes here, it’s also when hearty soups and stews actually do hit the spot at dinner time. Yesterday I realized I hadn’t yet had my fill of these wintertime favorites, but, if I hurried, I could squeeze in one more recipe for them before our salad season arrives.
This fusion recipe, a vegetarian option for which is provided, uses succotash as a base for white-form chili. Succotash (from the Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett term msíckquatash) is a simply cooked and traditional melange of New World Lima or young butter beans, corn, tomatoes, and sweet peppers. And to this satisfying mixture I’ve added optional chicken, the heat of green chili peppers, garlic, spices, and coconut milk for added smoothness. Brunswick stew, an old and much-loved southern U.S. comfort food dish, is also a classic, meat-focused variation on succotash.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
(Optional) 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs), cubed
(Optional) 1/2 small bell pepper, stems and seeds removed, cubed
1 green jalapeño chili, stems and (if you prefer) seeds removed, chopped
1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies, drained
2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
1 pound (about 3 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen small Lima or butter beans
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
3/4 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 can (1 1/2 cups) unsweetened coconut milk
4 small fresh tomatoes, stem ends and seeds removed, sliced
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro (coriander greens, dhania, etc.), chopped
Salt, black pepper, and optional cayenne pepper, to taste
- In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions for two minutes until wilted. Add the garlic, optional chicken and bell peppers (if used), jalapeño pepper, green chilies, cumin, and ground coriander seed. Sauté, stirring often, for an additional three to four minutes until the garlic and spices are fragrant.
- Add the beans, sweet potatoes, broth, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Stir in the corn, coconut milk, and tomatoes. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes and then stir in the cilantro.
- Taste the chili and add salt, pepper, and optional cayenne to suit your preferences. As with many soups and stews, this chili is actually better on the second day. Serves 4-5 as a main course.