Three Sisters Stew

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. After you’re done making this stew, serve a batch of these pumpkin cookies for dessert.

I may be taking some liberties in calling this three sisters stew, but whenever I see any combination of winter squash, corn, and beans, I think of the sisters. That combination of vegetables goes together in this savory stew as well as they grow together in the garden. What I’m trying to say is that this dish is fan-freaking-tastic. It’s delicious, is packed with vegetables, and pairs well with any number of meats. We served it with our favorite fried chicken, which is another recipe we shouldn’t keep to ourselves (look for it soon!).

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The recipe below is based off of this one, but with a few tweaks. For example, I can’t help but start a vegetable soup with diced onions and carrots, so we threw those in with the original recipe’s red pepper. I’m also a big fan of Rapunzel’s vegetable bouillon, so I substituted that in place of the chicken stock. Loving to garnish with avocados where ever we can (even in the form of avocado ice cream!), a few slices goes perfectly with this soup.

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In addition to those full-on changes to the recipe, I made a few basic swaps too. I used a can of fire-roasted tomatoes in place of the plum, and I used dried beans in place of canned. When it comes to beans, I almost never used canned. I’m just a fan of keeping dried beans in my pantry and then using our pressure cooker to soften them up on a moment’s notice. I’ll even make more than I need, using the extra for a dish later in the week or freezing them*. I also like that I can keep them in the cooker for a few extra minutes to create a cracked and really soft bean, making them even easier for Alex to eat.

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The recipe called for a garnish of toasted pumpkin seeds (if it didn’t I already had plans to add some – great minds!). I think we’re toasting pumpkin seeds on a weekly basis around here, primarily for adding to salads. I always toast them on the stovetop in a small cast iron pan. Put the pan over medium-high heat, add the pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of salt. Toss them regularly and take them off the heat the moment they begin popping. Easy peasy… and like the beans you’ll want to make extra, but in this case the extra’s for snacking before dinner :-).

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If you’re like me, you may get the idea that you want to partially blend this soup when finished. It’s something about a soup with winter squash and beans that makes me want to grab the immersion blender. If you’re like that too, don’t do it. This recipe creates a nice, hearty vegetable soup, and I’m convinced that there’s nothing to gain by blending it. Make a batch and let me know what you think. In line with that thought, you’ll see that you have to add raw squash to the pot, which means you may have to spend some time peeling and chopping a raw pumpkin (unless you pick up a pack of the chopped and peeled butternut squash from Trader Joe’s!). At first I wanted to roast my pumpkin to make removing the flesh easier, but if I did that, then the pumpkin would be mushy and wouldn’t hold its shape well in the stew (a characteristic that’s great if you do plan on making a blended soup).

Three Sisters Stew

Three Sisters Stew

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/2 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups winter squash (pumpkin, acorn, or butternut) cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • sliced avocado

Instructions

  1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Add the onion, carrot, and red pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until tender and the onions are clear.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and sauté for a few seconds until you can smell their aroma. Add the garlic, cinnamon, and cloves, and sauté for a few more seconds.
  3. Add the corn, squash, tomatoes (with their juices), and the broth. Bring the stew to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the squash is almost tender.
  4. Add the beans, cover, and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. If you would like the stew to have more liquid, you can always add more broth.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve with a garnish of toasted pumpkin seeds and sliced avocado.
http://liveseasoned.com/three-sisters-stew/

There you have it! A veggie-packed stew for a cool fall day, and if you have kiddos, you can teach them about the three sisters (not the Schu sisters!) over the dinner table.

*this week my extra beans were used to make a tex-mex black been dish with green chilies and more red pepper, and then those leftovers were used to make huevos rancheros!
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