Old-fashioned Tomato Succotash Recipe

I always thought Succotash was a mixture of corn and lima beans, so I was surprised to see a recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine for Tomato Succotash. The recipe called for seasonal vegetables – tomatoes, corn, green pepper, and onions – so, of course, I had to give it a try.

The medley of vegetables was delightful.  This recipe is a keeper. And, I know that it will become part of my repertoire of recipes that I regularly make.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)

I’m not sure what is meant by “green corn” in the recipe. When I made the recipe, I took it to mean tender (perhaps slightly immature) corn.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Tomato Succotash

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 large tomatoes

3 large ears of corn , cooked (tender corn is best)

2 tablespoons butter

1/ 2 green pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Peel and slice the tomatoes, set aside. (I put the whole tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then removed from the hot water and put briefly in cold water. The skins are then easy to slip off the tomatoes).

Cut the corn from the cob. Set aside.

Put the butter in a large skillet; melt using medium heat. Add green pepper and onion; saute until tender. Stir in the sliced tomatoes, corn, salt, sugar, and paprika. Cook until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Remove from heat and serve.

28 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Tomato Succotash Recipe

  1. This looks so good! I wonder if they called sweet corn ,green corn ,for the husk were green and field corn would have been brown when ready for use. Then maybe they used field corn when the husk were green and the corn more tender… just a imaginary thought. 🙂

  2. And now for the question of the day: do you know why the first words that came to mind were “Sufferin’ succotash”? Of course it came from the cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny, and here’s a little history.

    All that aside, the dish looks wonderful. I think you’re right that “green” corn is early corn. The phrase made me think of green tomatoes.

    1. Thanks for sharing the link. It’s fun to read the about the origins of “sufferin succotash.”

      Somehow “green” seems like it should be referring to something not quite ripe (like green tomatoes) – though I’m not totally sure what’s what the recipe author means.

  3. Ooh! Looks good. I’m going to forward it to my son. (As I’m sure you know by now, I don’t do any fancy cooking or baking anymore.) But my daughter’s a vegan, so he’ll have to substitute vegan butter if he makes it while she’s here. The sugar is minimal in the scheme of things, but what function does it serve?

    1. I bet that olive oil or other vegetable oils could also be substituted for the butter. I think that the sugar balances the acidity of the tomatoes. I’ve noticed over the years that many tomato recipes (spaghetti sauce, etc.) call for a little sugar. My general sense is that some tomatoes are tarter than others; and that sugar may not be needed if very sweet, ripe tomatoes are used.

      1. Back in the days when I still cooked Italian I made red sauce at least once a week. More often twice a week. I always added some baking soda to cut the acidity. (Before I did that, my very little ones would get a rash from getting the sauce on themselves.) Lesson, I guess it would make sense to use a spoonful of baking soda instead of the sugar.

  4. Sounds so much better! None of those nasty limas! if you’ve read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day you know that he and I think alike on that subject! This sounds very good.

    1. I’d totally forgotten about the lima bean line in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day until you mentioned it. It’s such a fun book. I think that it’s time for me to reread it. 🙂

  5. This looks really good! I am still waiting for my tomatoes, and will substitute olive oil. I wonder too if adding some cannellini beans (from a can) might add something (or in my case, make it an entree!)

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