So — who are the Three Sisters? Corn, Beans, Squash. These three foods grow beautifully together in the summer vegetable garden, and form the basis for this hearty vegan stew. They also have complementary nutritional profiles. The protein from the combination of beans and lye-treated whole corn are more complete than either alone, and winter squash adds a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals in addition to fabulous flavor.
I have loved cooking with Rancho Gordo’s hominy lately. This toothsome whole corn is ideal for adding flavor, texture and nutrition to stews. You can use most any cooked dry bean in this recipe, though I like to stick with large beans to preserve texture. I grew the beautiful Black Coat Runner Bean featured in this recipe. And since my lime trees are laden with freshly ripe limes, their bright tart juice is included too. Chili, lime, and garlic are a natural flavor complement to the earthy sweet flavors of the three sisters. Choose any fine textured winter squash for this stew. I had a delicious Kuri squash on my counter, and so enjoyed what was on hand.
This stew is adaptable, and easy to prepare for a simple meal. The key is to do some planning ahead and prepare the hominy and beans in advance. This means to soak, drain, then simmer in fresh water. Follow the directions on the package for preparing dried hominy. The time needed to cook your dried beans will vary, because each bean’s size, variety and freshness will have an impact on how long you’ll need to soak and simmer until they’re ready. While you could use canned beans and hominy in this recipe in a pinch, I recommend taking the extra time to cook these simple treasures from scratch for excellent flavor and cost savings. Enjoy!
Three Sisters Stew
1 cup dried hominy, soaked then simmered until tender
1 cup dried beans, soaked then simmered until tender
1 small winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
3 TB oil
8 cups fresh water or stock
three cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 – 2 TB chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 TB mexican oregano
Juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed
sea salt to taste
Heat a large covered pan over medium heat. Add oil, then the garlic. Saute for one minute, then add the chili powder, cumin, and mexican oregano. Saute for one minute. Add the squash and water/stock. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cooked beans and hominy. Add more water/stock if needed to create the right balance of stock to vegetables. Add salt to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Add the lime juice. Adjust seasoning, and serve.