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Mothering › Recipes › Three Sisters Stew

Three Sisters Stew

bean stewWhen Native Americans grew corn, they planted beans at the base of the stalks, which served as bean poles; in the ground between the stalks they grew squash. The three sisters—corn, beans, squash—lived harmoniously. This is a satisfying, flavorful dish to prepare when the winter squash and corn are ready for harvest.


1 cup dried pinto or kidney beans, soaked*

3 cups water

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or ghee (clarified butter)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 cups winter squash, cut in chunks

14-oz can chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon chile powder

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn

8-10 tablespoons grated cheese, as garnish


Drain soaking water off beans. Place beans, water, and garlic in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until beans are tender (50-60 minutes), or pressure-cook with 2 cups water (30-40 minutes).


In large pot, quickly dry-toast oregano, cumin seeds, and cinnamon for about 30 seconds. Add oil, onion, salt, and garlic; sauté until onions are soft. Add squash, tomatoes, and chile powder and cook about 20 minutes, until squash is soft. Add some water if mixture seems dry. Add cooked beans and corn; simmer until corn is tender. Season to taste. Serve hot and garnish with grated cheese if desired.


Preparation time: 70 minutes


Serves 6 to 8


Note: 3 cups canned or previously cooked beans can be used instead. This will cut total preparation time to 30 minutes.

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Mothering › Recipes › Three Sisters Stew