Turkey Succotash

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Despite a very strange recipe for Delaware succotash containing tomatoes and nutmeg that appeared in The American Heritage Cookbook in 1980, succotash has been an almost sacred blend of corn and lima beans ever since the early settlers in Virginia learned from the Powhatan Indians how to make it. So popular is the stew throughout the South, in fact, that it’s almost always featured even in cafeterias right along with black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, and string beans cooked with ham hock. And so obsessed am I with succotash that, years ago, I began turning it into a main course by adding either leftover chicken or turkey plus a few other vegetables and seasonings. At first, a few eyebrows were raised, but after most guests tasted my creation, I was hounded for the recipe. Think about this stew after Thanksgiving or Christmas, when you’re confronted with a mound of leftover turkey and need to come up with a simple but toothsome supper.


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • One 10-ounce package frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • One 10-ounce package frozen lima beans, thawed
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups diced cooked turkey (preferably dark meat)
  • ½ teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a large, heavy pot, fry the bacon over moderate heat till almost crisp, drain on paper towels, crumble, and set aside. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the pot and cook, stirring till softened, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients plus the reserved bacon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently till the beans and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Serve piping hot.