Most people know succotash as the simple, quintessentially American dish of cooked lima beans and corn. But, the basic affinity of corn and green shell beans inspires many surprising permutations, like this delectable version made with fresh green soybeans and smoky bacon. Salt and pepper are all you need to make it complete, although summer herbs add another wonderful layer of flavor. (You can also make this dish in the dead of winter with frozen soybeans and corn).
2 thick slices smoky bacon, preferably nitrite-free, applewood smoked, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 cups shelled green soybeans, about 8 ounces (half of a 1-pound package of frozen soybeans)
2 medium ears of corn, kernels cut off (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (optional)
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh pungent herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, or savory
OR 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped milder herbs such as basil or parsley (optional)
1. Add the bacon to a 10-inch nonstick skillet, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the fat has rendered out and the bacon is crisp, about 6 minutes.
2. Holding back the bacon with a slotted spoon, pour off all but about 2 teaspoons of the fat. Add the soybeans and 1/3 cup water to the pan; toss, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.
3. Stir in the corn, cover, and cook until the soybeans and corn are just tender, 3 minutes longer.
4. Add salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir in the chives and herbs, if desired. Serve hot or warm.
Copyright 2003 by Sally Schneider
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