“Three Sisters” Stew
Here’s a great main dish for Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s easy enough to make for everyday meals. This is somewhat like chili, though it’s more about the squash than beans. In Native American mythology, squash, corn, and beans are known as of the “three sisters” — the very crops that the harvest festival of Thanksgiving is meant to celebrate! If you bake your pumpkin or squash a day ahead, the stew will come together in a snap.
Serves: 8 or more
- 1 small sugar pumpkin or 1 large butternut
or carnival squash (about 2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium green or red bell pepper, cut into short, narrow strips
- 14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 2 cups cooked or one 15- to 16-ounce can pink or pinto beans (see Note)
- 2 cups corn kernels (from 2 large or 3 medium ears)
- 1 cup homemade or canned vegetable stock, or water
- 1 or 2 small fresh hot chiles, seeded and minced, or one 4-ounce can
chopped mild green chilies
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder or mequite seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove stem from the pumpkin or squash and cut in half lengthwise. Cover with aluminum foil and place the halves, cut side up, in a foil-lined shallow baking pan. If your knives aren’t sharp enough, just wrap the pumpkin or squash in foil and bake it whole. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until you can pierce through with a knife, with a little resistance. When cool enough to handle, scrape out the seeds and fibers (clean the seeds for roasting, if you’d like). Slice and peel, then cut into large dice.
Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
Add the pumpkin or squash and all the remaining ingredients except the last 2, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If time allows, let the stew stand for 1 to 2 hours before serving, then heat through as needed. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. The stew should be thick and very moist but not soupy; add additional stock or water if needed. Serve in bowls.
Note: If you’re serving a larger crowd use up to 4 cups cooked beans, but make sure to adjust seasonings accordingly.
- Here are more recipes for bean stews and chilies.
- Here are more recipes to enjoy a Vegetarian and Vegan Friendly Thanksgiving.
- Find more ways to make Special Occasions and Entertaining easier and healthier.
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