Every year, fall rushes in–a brilliant wash of light and color. The change from summer’s verdant greens to a kaleidoscope of hues appears not only in the trees but also the bountiful harvest. Greens from peppers, yellow from corn, red from tomatoes, orange from squash… And today’s “Three Sisters” stew has it all!
The inspiration for this comes from an unusual source. My husband was invited to a tech seminar at a local casino. Although tech conference in Vegas are common, I had never heard of one associated with a casino here. But they are famous for their food (always a lure at a conference), so what the heck! Unlike glitzy Vegas or British online casino netbet, casinos in the Midwest tend to be associated with native American culture and food. Perfect for fall menus!
The original recipe for Three Sisters Stew comes (by way of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel) from a local casino’s chef. The first time I made it, I used a few pre-packaged/canned ingredients for convenience and the second I went completely local, from scratch. It really made a dent in my bulging CSA box!
The combination of beans, corn and squash is traditional in native American gardening. According to the Native Tech website, the three plants work together for a better garden. “The corn stalk serves as a pole for the beans, the beans help to add the nitrogen to the soil that the corn needs, and the squash provides a ground cover of shade that helps the soil retain moisture.” (thanks Tammy for the tip). Nutritionally a combo of beans and corn combine to form a complete protein and the addition of squash and peppers supercharges the vitamin content.
Like in my skinny harvest dip, the blend of sweet and a little heat made a delicious combo. My visiting oldest daughter even asked to take some home!
- • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- • 2 cloves garlic, minced
- • 1 medium onion, diced
- • 1 medium green pepper, chopped roughly
- • 2-3 cups pumpkin or winter squash cubes (1 butternut squash or 2 smaller squash)
- • 1 can (14.5 to 16 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice (or about 1 quart fresh)
- • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped mild green chiles (or 1-2 finely chopped jalepeno peppers)
- • 2 cups cooked black beans (if using canned, rinse and drain)
- • 2 cups corn kernels (2-3 ears of fresh corn)
- • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- • 1 teaspoons salt
- • 1 teaspoon pepper
- • 2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
- • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- In a large pot, heat oil. Add garlic, onion, green pepper and squash and sauté a few minutes over medium heat. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, beans, corn, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until hot.
- Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as desired (you can also add extra broth if it is very thick). Add a spoonful of cilantro to individual bowls just before serving.
- Although the vitamin A content of this dish is high, the recipe app I am using is likely overestimating it.