Succotash Chili with Coconut Milk

March 15, 2011 · 23 comments

filed in: Chicken/Poultry,Gluten-Free,Main Courses,Soups/Stews,Vegetables,Vegetarian/Vegetarian Option

Succotash Chili with Coconut Milk

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


    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      1. Stir in the corn, coconut milk, and tomatoes. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes and then stir in the cilantro.
      2. 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.

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      { 23 them below or add one }

      Delishhh March 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      Ohh and you are complaining about short, t-shirt and flip flops? I guess you always want what you can’t have :) I am still looking for the city that has water, mountains and 4 seasons – there doesn’t seem to be a city like that in the us. This dish sounds awesome, i love the addition of the coconut. YUM!


      Ellen Dana September 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      I take it commenter has not considered Salem, Eugene/Springfield, or Portland, Oregon. WE have four seasons–but usually no huge snowstorms. Some little snow each winter but with plenty on the slopes. WARNING: Do not visit; you won’t want to leave. Born and raised in beautiful Oregon, and when lured away for some job, schooling or whatever, I always counted the days when I would be able to move back home!

      The recipe sounds scrumptious for a cooler day that today!


      A Canadian Foodie March 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm

      I don’t know how you take your photos, Barbara. You’ve told me, but I can’t do it – and your style is so unique to you and so compelling. I love the first photo and then, the tutorial is so inviting and the recipe so nutritious and delicious. As a child I heard of this dish and love the word and how it rolled off of the tongue, but today is the day that I have learned what it actually is. Never had it, and would love to. YUM. I will definitely be making this. Thank you! Valerie


      Karen March 22, 2011 at 10:29 am

      This looks super delicious, Barbara. Healthy and so flavorful. I just love how you added coconut milk to this dish. This would be great any time of year!


      Clau March 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

      That looks yummy.

      Here in The Netherlands we only have about two to three weeks of real sun and warmth (though Dutch people insist it’s at least a whole month). By the way, did you know that your last name “De Groot” is a typical Dutch last name? The literal translation would be something like “The Great” or “The Big”.


      Barbara March 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      Thank you, Clau. I’ve spent many happy times in the Netherlands — mainly in the summer, fall, and spring — and found the weather to be delightful. And yes, despite the Anglicized (mis)spelling of my name, my family has Dutch/Flemish roots and settled in Nieuw-Amsterdam (New York) in the 1600s. Recently I spent 10 years living in South Africa, where I was continually mistaken for an Afrikaaner. Embarrassing, since my Afrikaaner language skills were limited.


      Megan March 20, 2011 at 9:58 am

      Looks like a big bowl of comfort! Warm, tasty comfort!
      So everytime I take a picture, I think of you. What is the white background you take pictures on? Is it a white table? A tablecloth? White board? I have to say, this question has been on my mind for way to long. I had to ask!


      Barbara March 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks, Megan! Lately, I’ve been taking many (too many?) of my photos on a white, melamine-coated piece of masonite from the remainders’ bin at Home Depot. It’s time to mix things up more, though.


      Amanda March 18, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      Barbara your presentations are always so beautiful! Looks amazing!


      Jenny (VintageSugarcube) March 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Ohhh.. This looks like a perfect chili for me, as I’m trying to eat a bit healthier these days. Your photos continue to ahhh me. They are ALWAYS gorgeous.


      Devaki @ weavethousandflavors March 17, 2011 at 10:56 am

      This is superb – I usullly make succotash with green peppers and corn but turning it into a chili with coconut milk is genius! And I know what you mean about salad season….good-bye pot please just one more time ….lol chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors


      Maria March 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      I love all of the bright colors!


      Lana @ Never Enough Thyme March 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

      How interesting! As I started reading your list of ingredients, I was thinking “sounds so much like Brunswick Stew.” And then in your second paragraph, the light bulb came on – I never thought of Brunswick Stew as a variation on succotash, but you are so right! It is that exactly.

      I have to say this is one the most creative while chili recipes I’ve ever seen. Cudos for combining elements from several different cuisines so successfully!


      Barbara March 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

      Succotash and meaty Brunswick stew are both great favorites of mine, and I make both often. I like to use smoked meats — pork and chicken — when I make the latter (see my recipe at but wanted a lighter, spicier, and vegetable-oriented take on the theme in the recipe above.


      SMITH BITES March 16, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Coconut milk is the wow here Barbara – am heading to the grocery and will be adding this dish to my list!


      marla March 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      I never did know the definition of a succotash, thanks for clearing that up. The coconut milk is a great addition to this dish as it adds charm, flavor and substance. Lima beans were my favorite “green things” as a kid. Lovely dish Barbara.


      blackbookkitchendiaries March 15, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      i am loving the flavors in here! it’s so beautiful, thank you for sharing this.


      Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen March 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm

      You know I’ve never had succotash before, but it sounds like a nice combination of vegetables. I’m in CA so I understand about the 3 months of slightly cooler weather, but I think it’s still cool enough to enjoying a few more winter meals like this.


      Feast on the Cheap March 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      Oh boy…if only steamy temps were our problem in the Northeast. I am SO ready for spring!


      Kiran March 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      Delicious and hearty soup Barbara. I was so excited to know you are from Florida! We should meet.


      Jenna March 15, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Cool–I never knew what succotash was! I love your addition of coconut milk. The flavor sounds wonderful. I’m also going to miss winter stews once the good weather hits, but I won’t miss the evil Chicago winds . . .


      Winnie March 15, 2011 at 9:11 am

      Looks fantastic!!! So many of my favorite ingredients make an appearance here.


      deeba March 15, 2011 at 9:10 am

      This would hit the spot anytime Barbara! Mmmm…


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