Monday, February 11, 2013

Succotash Stew: With a Side of Barbecue Chicken

Let's be real folks, we have all picked up an rotisserie chicken from the deli of our local supermarket.  After a long day at the job, it be either in your home and/or outside of the home, you need an easy yet healthy meal for your family.  This bird really doesn't cut it...

Gotta Love Southern Cooking

I love succotash, the combination of flavors and it can be made with any type of vegetables, although the truest form contains lima beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, okra and some spices.

My family is not a big fan of okra so I have revised this recipe a bit.  I also like mine a bit on the wet side, so this is more of a stew than an original succotash but hey, that always seems to be my way, that is, do it my way.

To me that is what cooking is all about, take a basic recipe and then make it suit you and your family's likes.

Lima beans tend to be like every other bean, bland that is, until you add some spices & goodies to the pot and then you get a very tasty yet healthy dish your family will love.  Lima beans pack in some vitamin B's, potassium, iron and magnesium.  Not to even mention the fiber that is also an added ingredient we can all use.  They are also packed with protein, as most beans are.

Hit The Pantry

I know a lot of the so called 'experts' will tell you to stay away from canned foods, always go fresh, I say, not!  There are so many low sodium products on the market, also a lot of organic canned goods that are lovely on their own but, then add a few fresh ingredients and they become great.

I have noticed that I have started to cook more and more of these stews, as times are hard for a lot of us Americans.  A stew is ideal to make a little bit of ingredients go a long way.

Yes I use both fresh and pantry ingredients, to be quite honest, as I made this recipe up, I used what I had at the time.  I had no onions so I used onion powder.  As I have stated before, go by the basics but you add what you like.  Change up the beans, the vegetables or, make it my way and I assure you, you and your family will love this easy yet healthy meal.

What You Will Need...

2 pounds dried lima beans
3 carrots
2 stalks celery
3 bell peppers (I used 2 green & 1 red)
1 can tomatoes
1 can cream corn
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sage
1 1/2 onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
Canola oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 rotisserie chicken
Barbecue sauce of your choice
Bread of your choice

Plan & Soak

There are two ways to start this dish, one is to soak your beans overnight or you can go by the quick boil method.  This day I used the quick boil method.  I added my beans to a dutch oven, add enough water so the level of water is around 2 inches above your beans.  Bring your beans to a boil, cover and allow your beans to sit for 2 hours, drain your beans and place back in your pot and continue with this recipe.

If you want to soak your beans overnight than by all means do so, just drain the water and then continue with this recipe.  If you are like I am, I do most of my work around the house while all others are asleep, I always have.

Cut your veggies the night before, also go ahead and roast your bell peppers.  Place your bell peppers in a bowl, cover.  Dice your carrots and celery, place in a bowl, cover and then place both bowls in the refrigerator. This will cut down on a lot of your time once you get home from work, a day of running errands and/or just a rough day working around the house.

Do not forget to pick up that rotisserie chicken at your supermarket deli.

Start Your Dinner...

The first thing I do is take the chicken off of the bones and set aside.  Place your drained lima beans in your dutch oven and then push the chicken carcass down into your beans.  I am not adding any bacon or the usual types of meat that a lot of southern cooks place in their pot of beans, so a little chicken fat will be just fine, as they say "fat adds flavor.".

Though there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, the chicken will add flavor with very little fat, just make sure you discard the skin.

Place your bell peppers on a cookie sheet and place under your broiler and allow the skin to char, I mean turn black, turning as needed.  When your bell peppers are charred all over, place in a bowl and put a lid on it, allow them to sit while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.  This will help the skins of your bell peppers to come off so much easier.

I find it is so much easier to buy peppers in bulk (when on sale) and then roast my bell peppers this way, they can be placed in a glass bowl, covered with a bit of olive oil and then cover the bowl, place in your refrigerator.

If I do not plan on using the broiled bell peppers right away then I place a few in a sandwich baggie, after the skin is taken off and then place all the baggies in a freezer bag, store in your freezer.  Then I am able to grab one bag at a time, depending how many peppers I need.

I like millions of people watch cooking shows and after one show I watched where it called for one jar of roasted red peppers, I like most bought the jar and what I found was.  I paid over 3 dollars for one roasted pepper in that jar.  That was when I first started to do my own roasted bell peppers and the savings were huge.  If I happen to be grilling the night I go grocery shopping, I just place the bell peppers on the grill itself and do the same process, turn as the skin chars and then place in a bowl and cover with a lid, so as to steam off the skin.

Roasting also brings out the sweetness of this vegetable and makes the taste of them, twice as good.

Okay the lima beans and chicken bones are in the pot, in a small dice cut up your celery, then cut your carrots into a medium dice, place in a frying pan, on medium with 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil added to your pan and saute your vegetables until soft.

While your carrots and celery are cooking, add your can of cream corn, peppers (peeled & chopped), onion powder, garlic powder, sage, thyme and a bay leaf to your pot of beans.  When your vegetables are done, add to your pot, cover your beans with some cold water and bring to a boil.  When your lima beans come to a boil, place a lid on the pot and turn down to a low simmer.

You can always add more water (if needed) as your stew is cooking, as they say, "It is easier to add than it is to take away.".  

Fry & Simmer

As your beans are simmering away for the first 30 minutes, peel and dice your potatoes, add to a bowl and cover with cold water.  Place your chicken in a sauce pan and add your favorite barbecue sauce and put on a very low simmer, no lid, stirring every now and then.

In the frying pan you cooked your carrots and celery in, add a tablespoon of canola oil and on medium heat, add your tomatoes (drained, save liquid), salt & pepper and saute for 4 to 5 minutes.  This is will brighten up your tomatoes and just add more goodness.

As you are stirring your tomatoes, make sure to scrap the bottom to get all the flavor left over from cooking your carrots and celery.  Add to your pot, replace the lid and continue to simmer.

Drain your potatoes and it is even a good idea to take a towel and dry them off as much as you can.  Place in a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of canola oil, salt and pepper.  Cook on medium high, turning every now and then.

How much salt you add is up to you, I find 1 tablespoon is perfect and lots of cracked black pepper is a must with this dish.  Remember, this is your stew so add as much as you like.

Like most beans, they do not always have a set time I can give you, I have made this stew and it has taken 1 1/2 hours to cook and yet this time, it only had taken 1 hour.  I have been told by one too many southern cooks this one secret and even though some 'experts' say it is not so...

I do not add salt or anything (tomatoes) with acid to my beans for the first 30 minutes.  The wonderful southern cooks I have had the honor of being in their kitchens say not to do so, so I don't.

When something is not broken folks, just don't try to fix it.

Yes, I Will Take 'this' Chicken...

I like my barbecue chicken served as an open faced sandwich and the bread I use is a slice of french bread. I will toast my bread in a frying pan with a thin coat of butter added to one side and toast it on a medium low heat, turn the bread over (adding no butter) and toast the other side.

The butter helps cut through that heavy barbecue sauce, helps with obtaining a golden piece of french bread and the crunchy texture is perfect for the spicy, sweet and creamy barbecue chicken.

Now why settle with a boring rotisserie chicken, I must ask, when all you have to do is think ahead and you too will have a delicious, yet healthy dinner your family will love.  I will eat on this succotash stew for the rest of the week for lunch, it only gets better after each day passes.

Please check out a few of my other recipes...

1 Chicken + 2 Dishes

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be shared without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

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