Beans beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you...well you know how the rest of the saying goes. Either way my fiance is stuck with me and what better way to use beans than in succotash! Succotash became popular during the Great Depression since beans were one of the few items that were cheap and readily available. I managed to grab the last few ears of corn before having to wait til Summer to eat it again. It's a great dish for those cool fall nights, with the earthiness of the beans and corn enriched with the beautiful basil butter, it will leave your tummy happy and satisfied.
Ingredients for Succotash:
- 1 1/2 cups dried mixed shell beans, such as lima, flageolets, fava, cranberry, kidney, or butter beans (allow to soak overnight)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 large ear of corn)
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock (can be store bought)
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 chicken breasts or thigh, cut and trimmed
Ingredients for Basil Butter:
- 1 large shallot, finely minced
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
What the heck is chiffonade? It's a technique of cutting ingredients like herbs into ribbons. You stack the leaves ontop of each other and roll them into a cigar-like shape, the cut the roll crosswides and the pieces will unravel in ribbons.
For the succotash, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the beans to the boiling water and blanch for 3 to 4 minutes, drain and transfer to the bowl of ice water. This will "shock" the beans and stop them from cooking as well as set the colors. Drain again and set aside. Heat a large and deep saucepan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of butter. Once it has melted add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the corn and beans and stir to heat through. Pour in the stock and increase the heat to high. Cook until the liquid is soaked up by the beans, but leave just enough to coat the vegetables, about 15 minutes. If the beans are still too hard, simply add more stock and cook it down until they have softened. However, becareful to not overcook the vegetables or they may discolor. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover to keep warm and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the shallots. Place the chicken breast or thigh on top and pour the stock and wine into the pan. Sear the chicken on both sides and stick the pan into the oven and allow to cook the rest of the way, about 8-10 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and pour the juices into a medium saucepan. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and set aside. Add the lemon juice to the pan of juices and bring to a boil until reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the cream and continue to boil for 1 minute. Reduce the heat down to medium and slowly whisk in the cubes of butter, incorporating each cube before adding more. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chiffonade basil right before serving.
Plate the succotash with a slotted spoon and divide evenly among 4 plates. Place the chicken on top and generously spoon over the sauce. Serve immediately.