Monday, October 17, 2011

Three Sisters Stew

To Native Americans, the Three Sisters (corn, beans and squash) are the sustainers of life, believed to be special gifts from the "Creator". They are planted together in a hill, rather than in rows as we do now. The sturdy corn stalks support the vining beans, while the broad squash leaves trap moisture for the growing plants. This efficient planting technique, although noted by explorers as far back as the early 1600's, is mostly ignored in modern agriculture. Instead, we have devised a system of genetically modified seeds to fight disease and invasion, pesticides to eliminate stubborn pests and an enormous waste of precious resources.  

We have an opportunity to honor this trio. Just as they were planted together traditionally, and protected together, they are now served together in this delicious and exceptionally nutritious dish!

What I had on hand:

2 cups of cumin & olive oil roasted pumpkin, cubed

1-2 TB olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 ears of fresh organic corn, sawed off the cob
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1-2 cups of water
1/4 of a large zucchini, diced
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, diced
2 cups of green cherry tomatoes, diced
2 cups of black beans, cooked el dente
2 TB chili garlic paste

1/3 diced Vietnamese Coriander
A pinch or two each of: 
Ghost pepper salt, cumin, garam masala, crushed red pepper, course ground black pepper and sea salt

What I did:

Cut squash in sections, lightly coat with olive oil and roast in oven for 25 minutes at 350. Remove and let cool. Peel skin and discard, cube, sprinkle with cumin and sea salt, stir and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Freeze or use in 2-3 days.

I actually used the lemon infused olive oil leftover in a can of dolmas as my base oil. After heating the oil in the soup pot briefly, I added the garlic and onions to the pot and sautéed for five minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients, one at a time, adding only one of the cups of water initially, and added more later if you need it. You want it to be thick like "stew".  Season last, adding a few extra pinches to achieve your own desired preference. The ingredients actually have an amazing flavor, but the combination of spice compliments the dish completely. Garnish with Vietnamese Coriander. YUM.

For more information about the nutritional benefits of organic corn, click on this link:

For more information of the benefits of beans, click on this link:

For more information on the benefits of squash, click on this link:

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