1620s Plymouth Succotash

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A staple of Native diets throughout the region, succotash was a brothy, long-simmered dish consisting primarily of two critical ingredients: dry corn (hulled by steeping in wood ash lye) and dry beans. Upon this savory background was layered an ever-varying array of fish, shellfish, meat, roots, nuts, fruits, and leaves. English cooks, also from a broth-cooking culture, viewed this important dish as a conceptual relative of their own oat-based pottage and adopted the hulled-corn-and-beans duo without alteration, applying their own flavorings and garnishes. Over the centuries, the ingredients were altered gradually to suit contemporary conditions, making a full transition from the hunted and gathered foods of the Wampanoag to the barnyard and kitchen-garden stuff of the English. This plant-based succotash is Paula Marcoux’s interpretation of a really early English autumnal version. 

Total Cook Time: 20 minutes | Serves 5

Source: The Blue Zones American Kitchen, Photo: David McLain


2 pounds cooked, hulled corn (or reconstituted dry whole hominy, frozen hominy, or pozole)

8 ounces dried cranberry beans (or Jacob’s cattle beans or other similar beans), soaked and cooked until just tender



2 turnips, peeled and chopped 

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 acorn squash or other winter squash, seeded and sliced 

Few handfuls of chopped cabbage, collards, or turnip greens

2 leeks or onions, sliced

Few handfuls of chopped lettuce, spinach, endive, chicory, or arugula (or a combination)

Tender strawberry or violet leaves

1 cup ground walnuts, chestnuts, or hazelnuts

Freshly ground black pepper

Few chives or scallions, chopped

Calendula petals

Fresh mint or parsley


  1. In a large soup pot, stir together the corn, beans, and salt. 
  2. Add the optional turnips, carrots, squash, cabbage or other winter greens, and leeks or onions, and simmer until they are almost tender, about 10 minutes. (Add oil, if needed.)
  3. When the above are nearing tenderness, add the leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, endive, chicory, or arugula), strawberry or violet leaves, ground nuts, and pepper, and simmer for a few minutes more.
  4. Stir in the chives or scallions, calendula petals, and mint or parsley.
  5. Serve immediately with toasted Plymouth Meslin Bread from Blue Zones American Kitchen.