Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Three Sisters Stew

If you have a food dryer, and use it to dry corn when it is in season, you will have a very handy and easy winter food. It reconstitutes to be just as good as frozen or canned corn, but takes much less energy (and trouble) to make and store. It has to be simmered a little longer to reconstitute it, but that is hardly anything.

I left this simple combination of three traditional native vegetables fairly plain; I wanted all the flavours to speak for themselves. You can certainly spice them up if you like. We ate some of it plain, and added chile-garlic sauce to some. This is a great use of (planned) leftover roast squash; fire up the beans while you are roasting it, and this goes together in no time the next day.

Makes 4 servings
30 minutes - 10 minutes prep time
NOT including cooking the beans and squash

Bean, Squash, & Corn Stew; A Kind of Succotash

Cook the Beans & Squash:
1 cup dried beans
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 medium (750 grams; 1 1/2 pounds) butternut squash
a little mild vegetable oil to rub the squash

Pick over the beans and put them in a pot with plenty of water to cover them. Bring them to a good rolling boil and then cover them and turn them off; let them soak for several hours to overnight.

Add the salt and bring the beans back up to a steady simmer. Simmer until tender, stirring regularly.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and stringy bits. Rub the squash with a little oil and roast it until tender, about 1 hour on a baking dish or tray. Let it cool, peel it, and cut the flesh into bite-sized cubes.

Both of these can (should) be done a day in advance.

Assemble the Stew:
2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups dried corn
OR 3 cups frozen corn
1 medium onion
3 to 4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the tomatoes and bay leaves in a large soup pot, and add the cooked beans along with about 2 cups of their cooking water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer gently.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Heat the oil in a small skillet, and cook the onion until softened, translucent and reduced in volume. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or 2, then add them both to the beans. Add the dried corn, and the salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the corn is tender. Add the chopped squash and heat through.

Last year at this time I made Ham & Potato Dumplings.

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