RECIPE. Dec 3, 2010

A Stew to Remember

While wallowing in a cooking funk recently, I stumbled upon an incredible recipe that combined three ingredients I happened to have stored from our community garden. There is nothing more exciting than using ingredients you already have in bounty. I was also challenged to cook a vegetarian dish for a breastfeeding mama and wanted to make something memorable. As an extra precaution I also wanted the dish to be vegan just in case babe was sensitive to dairy products. As if those qualifications were not enough, I needed a recipe that only took me an hour at the most so I could make it while my own babe slept. Fortunately, Cynthia Lair had just the recipe and it was a huge success.

This was the first time I was honored to cook for others since my son was born and I couldn’t wait to host. I was particularly excited to share such meaningful food with a family I knew would appreciate the story and history of the food I was cooking. This stew is hearty, healthy, vegan and gives just a little kick that a soft sock in the mouth instead of a sucker punch. It’s quick, easy, inexpensive and feeds many. I served it with rosemary sea salt bread from our local bakery and a merlot. It’s perfect and is as memorable as the night we shared with our friends.

Place beans, 2 cups of stock and 1 tsp of cumin in pot: bring to boil. Cover and simmer until beans are tender (50-60 min) or pressure-cook (45min). Heat 4 quart pot to medium, add oil and saute the remaining cumin, italian seasoning and cinnamon for about 30 seconds.

Add onion, salt and garlic; saute until onion is soft (5 min). Add squash, tomatoes and chili powder, bring to a simmer and cook until squash is soft (about 20 min). Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup stock if mixture is dry.

Add cooked beans and corn; simmer until corn is tender. Adjust seasoning to your taste. Serve hot with grated cheese for garnish.

Cynthia reports the stew is called “Three Sisters Stew” because the bean, corn and squash were grown harmoniously in the same space by Native Americans. I believe this dish can bring great harmony to your home. Enjoy.

For babes 6 months and older: Reserve peeled squash cubes, steam well and puree
For babes 10 months and older: Reserve some cooked beans before adding to stew and puree with steamed squash cubes. Serve beans in small amounts.