Wednesday, 6 September 2017

#readcookeat recipe : Succotash with Prawns (The Magician's Lie)

When I mentioned at the start of the summer that I generally have about 400 still-to-be-written blogposts in my drafts folder and that I wanted to clear some of them during the holidays, a few of my fellow bloggers were shocked, but it's mainly where I keep note of my bookmarked recipes. I posted my review of The Magician's Lie back in April, for example, so this has been bouncing around in drafts for all that time until I finally got around to making it last week !

The book tells the story of Arden the Amazing, a female magician who travelled around the United States in the early 1900s. One night, she is involved in a murder enquiry and interrogated by a police officer called Virgil Holt. The first foodie mention that I jotted down features Holt :

p14 Reading the menu, Holt wipes his face with a handkerchief and feels the alcohol sweating out of his pores. He asks for coffee, but this time of night, they don't have a pot ready, and the waitress disappears to put one on fresh. Every single thing on the bill of fare sounds delicious. Fried ham and creamed hominy, roly-poly pudding, and blueberry pie. He can hardly go wrong, whatever he chooses. As Iris says, hunger is the best sauce.

Hominy (maize)

I'd heard of hominy but wasn't too sure what it was, so I headed off to google to investigate. Wikipedia informed me that "hominy is a food produced from dried maize (corn in the U.S.) kernels that have been treated with an alkali, in a process called nixtamalization". When I read that the alkali comes from "a dilute solution of lye (which can be produced from water and wood ash) or of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide, i.e. from lime  as in limestone, not the fruit)", it stopped appealing to me. I remembered a character in another book saying that hominy looked like a bowl of teeth, and having seen a picture, I can see why ! Luckily I had another quote jotted down :

p91 We brought foods to tables that most of us had never even seen before, bearing caviar and truffles as if they were grits and succotash.

This mention of succotash intrigued me, as I only ever heard Daffy Duck and Sylvester the Cat saying "Suffering Succotash" in cartoons. Wikipedia again had the details : "Succotash is a food dish consisting primarily of sweet corn with lima beans or other shell beans. Other ingredients may be added including tomatoes, green or sweet red peppers, and okra." Another quick google search showed that it is sometimes paired with prawns, which sounded good to me.

This was thrown together using what was in the cupboards, fridge and freezer before heading off on holiday, so I didn't have the traditional lima beans. It was very nice though, quick to prepare and a healthy, light option.

Succotash with Prawns

ingredients :

1 onion
1 clove of garlic
drizzle of olive oil
1/2 red pepper
small can of sweetcorn
small can of beans (I used borlotti)
1 red chilli (optional) (I had chipotle in adobo sauce)
squeeze of tomato puree
a pinch of salt
herbs and spices (I used 1tsp each oregano, basil, garlic pepper and smoked paprika)
cooked prawns

Start off by frying a chopped onion and a crushed garlic clove in a little olive oil. (I've noticed that 99% of my savoury recipes start this way !)

Add in the chopped red pepper.

On to the tins - add a small can of sweetcorn and a small can of beans - lima would be most authentic but borlotti worked perfectly too.

I had a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the fridge so I finely chopped one of those and added it to the mix.

Add a squeeze of tomato puree. (Or you could add a finely chopped fresh tomato if you prefer.)

Throw some herbs and spices into the mix - I used oregano, basil, garlic pepper and smoked paprika.

Add the cooked and peeled prawns (or you could add whole prawns, but my lot are lazy and prefer me to do the hard work !).

Give it all a good stir and taste to adjust the seasoning.

Serve in a bowl with some crusty bread on the side, or you could serve it over rice if you prefer.

Want to try some more classic American dishes? How about Minnesotan Hotdish, Hoppin' John & Collards or Banoffee Whoopie Pies?

Linking up to #readcookeat at Chez Maximka.

Also adding to the #KitchenClearout linky as it used up lots of odds and ends.


  1. Succotash is also mentioned by Gopher in Winnie-the-Pooh animation. I don't think I have tried succotash, when we lived in the States. Looks colourful and tasty! Hominy - again, heard of it, but have never actually seen it, so thank you for the photo and the explanation. 400 posts? You beat me to it, I have about a hundred in the drafts folder, and felt bad about it. :)


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