Skip to main content

Jamie’s Field Pea Succotash

Succotash can be misunderstood and underappreciated because of the lackluster versions that make some people think that it isn’t anything to write home about. Jamie’s recipe is redemptive succotash, a feast for the eyes and palate, full of color, texture, and flavor. He often uses some of his Appalachian-style sour corn in his succotash, but most of us will instead use fresh corn kernels. With the right accompaniment, summer succotash is a complete farm-fresh meal.

Jamie is known as the Chef’s Farmer, a professional chef who transitioned to farming. No one is more eager or qualified to share ideas of how to prepare what they’ve grown than a farmer who loves good cooking.

Makes 4 servings.

Field Pea Succotash

  • 2 cups shelled fresh or thawed field peas
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat or 1 tablespoon each vegetable oil and butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers (Jamie used Jimmy Nardello peppers)
  • 2 ears sweet corn, kernels cut off and cobs scraped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large tomato, cored and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Accompaniments (optional): Warm biscuits, cornbread, tortillas, grits, or rice

Rinse the peas thoroughly to remove any bits of hull and stickiness. Place the peas in a small saucepan and add enough cold water to submerge the peas to a depth of 1 inch. Bring to a boil, skim off the foam, reduce the heat, and simmer gently until the peas are tender, 15 to 45 minutes, depending on their size and freshness. Add water as needed to keep the peas submerged. Remove from the heat and let stand in their liquid until needed. (You can cook the peas up to 5 days ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Warm before using.)

Warm the fat until sizzling in a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until beginning to soften and brown on the edges, about 8 minutes, stirring often.

Add the peppers and a pinch of salt. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes. 

Stir in the peas and about 1/2 cup of their cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through.

Stir in the corn. Bring to a simmer and cook until the corn is barely tender, 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often. The vegetables should be gently bubbling in their juices, so add more pea cooking liquid if the mixture is dry.

Stir in the tomato and a pinch of salt. Cook only until the tomato warms through, about 1 minute, stirring often. 

Stir in the thyme. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve warm solo or with an accompaniment.

Field Pea Succotash | Cook Along with Jamie Swofford

Chef and farmer Jamie Swofford cooks an amazing Field Pea Succotash with Sheri.

Recipe Courtesy of Jamie Swofford

Jamie Swofford is The Chef's Farmer. On his farm in Cleveland County, he grows high-quality produce and boutique ingredients for chefs, and delivers fresh and foraged ingredients to breweries and cocktail craftsmen in the North Carolina Piedmont. Before he farmed for a living, Jamie spent nearly two decades in kitchens throughout the Southeast and abroad. Equipped with a wealth of experience, deep culinary understanding, and a desire to preserve traditions rooted in Appalachian culture, he explores food in all of its facets: from the field to his own line of artisanal products under the name Old North Shrub. His love of food extends far and wide; he's a chef-turned-farmer and foremost a North Carolina boy at heart. 

Jamie is featured in Episode 3, Field Guide to Field Peas, premiering Thursday, October 7, 2021.