Quinoa Succotash

The kitchen is a place of marvelous experimentation. Sometimes things go well, sometimes not so well, and once in a while you’ll have a happy accident that you can’t wait to repeat.

This my friends is my happy accident. I had a fresh batch of quinoa and just a little bit of leftover succotash; I put them together, and WOW. That was good. So good I set out to make it intentionally, all in one pot.

You see, succotash is essentially boiled corn and shell beans (in fact, the word “succotash” comes from a Narragansett Indian word for boiled corn.) To cook quinoa, you have to boil it. So, why not make them all together?

Cook the onions, quinoa, corn, lima beans, and tomatoes in a little bacon fat and/or butter, add stock and water. Twenty minutes later you are feasting on a marriage of two ancient food traditions and continents—succotash from North America, and quinoa from South. By the way, I say this dish serves 3 to 4. And it should, but I keep eating entire batches. So make it once, and if you like it, you might want to double the recipe the next time.

  • Prep: 10 minutes
  • Cook: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4 as a side.

No need to defrost the corn kernels or lima beans if they are frozen.

We are using less liquid than is typical of quinoa recipes because the vegetables (especially the tomatoes) release liquid as they cook.

If you want to take this up a notch, sprinkle with chipotle tabasco to serve!

Ingredients

  • 1 thick cut strip of bacon, cut in half (note you can sub out the bacon for another Tbsp of butter if you want)
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup baby lima beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup chicken or beef stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter or unsalted stock)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions and/or chives
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Method

1 Place the bacon strip halves in a 3 to 4 quart, thick-bottomed pot. Heat on medium heat and gently cook the bacon, turning every so often, so that much of the fat renders out. When the bacon is lightly browned, remove it from the pot and place it on paper towels. Keep the fat in the pan.

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2 While the bacon is cooking, place the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse until the water runs clear. Note that most quinoa packages suggest that you rinse before cooking. If you are using a quinoa brand that does not suggest rinsing, rinse anyway.

3 When the bacon is done cooking, has been removed from the pan and is cool enough to handle, chop it and set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pot, along with the butter. Cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 3 or 4 minutes.

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4 Add the rinsed quinoa to the pot and increase the heat to medium high. Stir to combine the quinoa and onions. Let cook for a couple minutes on medium high to high heat, until the onions and the quinoa get a hint of color.

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5 Add the corn, baby lima beans, chopped tomato, chopped bacon, and thyme to the pot, and stir to combine. Add the water and stock (and salt if using unsalted butter or stock). Increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for another 5 minutes.

6 Stir in the lemon juice and chopped chives and/or green onions and fluff up with a fork.

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