Thursday, October 27, 2011

spicy sister stew

spicy sisters stew
Chunks of sweet butternut and kernels of corn mingle with savory black beans in a thick broth that has hints of smoky chipotle chilis. This is the third time I've made this dish  in less than a month. That usually means it's a keeper.
Besides being delicious, it contains my three biggest criteria for family recipes:
  1. packs a powerful nutritional punch 
  2. fairly quick to throw together
  3. satisfies all of our dietary preferences and sensitivities 
Because we have a vegetarian, a gluten free diner and a very selective eater (not all one person) at our dinner table, I like meals that act as a foundation for fun condiments and add ins. In other words, we eat the same meal but get to personalize it when we sit down. So Spicy Sister Stew is quite mild for one, but another (my wild son) gets to kick it up to a scorcher if he pleases.

Spicy Sister Stew
  • 1 onion
  •  several cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  •  dried oregano
  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 cup black beans (left overs are perfectly used here, but 2 cans are just fine)
  • tomatoes chopped ( I sometimes eliminate these if I want to go easy on nightshade veggies)
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of cumin
  • a tiny spoonful of adobo sauce
Bowls of options for the table:
  • fresh cilantro
  • chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
  • creme fraiche or thick yogurt optional
  • tomatoes chopped
  • freshly grated cheese or a soft goat cheese
  1. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes in a heavy bottomed pot. Add squash and just enough water to cover it. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Add beans, corn and tomatoes. Then pour in another couple of cups of water or vegetable stock. How thick it is will be depends on your preference and how much water you add. Stir in salt, pepper, oregano and a little spoonful of adobo sauce.
  3. Simmer until tender and flavors have melded. A minimum of 20 more minutes if you need to get dinner on the table... but longer will enhance the stew.
  4. Set the table with bowls of any or all of the options above at the ready for your diners.
We enjoy this with brown rice or quinoa and a nice bed of greens. Leftovers are delicious and satisfying when put in a cast iron skillet, topped with cornbread batter and baked until golden.

Note: This stew was named after the Three Sisters: corn, beans and squash. Various Native American tribes grew them as companion plants and referred to them as the sisters. Pin It


  1. Thank you Maya! I always love your recipes and this one looks super, I even have all the ingredients to prepare it for dinner.

  2. Yum! That little pile of cilantro seals the deal. This looks like a great fall meal. I'm going to try to find my favorite soup recipe to share with you (very similar, it's a sweet potato based bisque with corn and just the right amount of spice and sweetness - great for fall!).

  3. Tracey- it make it even more delicious when you don't have to run out for an ingredient!

    Ayssa- sounds wonderful, I'd love to try it and have been craving sweet potatoes, too!

  4. Found it fast:

    I sub in veg stock and often leave out the jalapenos. I love the stuff, but my family is a little tired of it. Will give yours a try soon!

  5. That was fast! I'll go check it out- thanks soooo much!

  6. Thanks for another recipe! I made your grandmother's apple cake last weekend and we all loved it.

  7. oh wow, that sounds like perfection in a pot! i adore anything called "stew", but being a vegetarian eliminates most of them... thanks for this!

  8. YOu can feed me anytime Maya. xox Corrine

  9. Looks yummy Maya! Thanks for posting.


  10. sounds delicious...the perfect time of year for it too. can't wait to try it! thank you for the inspiration :)

    xo, juliette

    ps. stopping over from byw :)

  11. I am making this soup THIS weekend!!!

    THank you!!! you always share share share so much goodness-- thank you, E

  12. Yum! We make a soup that is similar that's in the "refresh" cookbook.(recipes from the restaurant in the Toronto area) If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it! We have all the same sensitivities in our family so it's so fun to find a recipe that we can eat!
    Now try this for dessert! ;o)

  13. I am in Soup Mode right now. This sounds delicious.

  14. I've got everything but the squash... Need to get a squash. Need to make this soon. It's starting to get cold in the evenings and this would hit the spot.

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  16. Oh look at that! This recipe has many of our favorite ingredients in it and several that we grew in the garden this year. We often combine butternuts and beans with green chiles to make burritos but I have cooked them together in a stew...until now. I'll be trying this soon. Thanks!

  17. This sounds wonderful. I'm not familiar with adobo sauce. Is that a sauce that you made and had on hand or something you can buy premade from the grocery store?

    Can't wait to put this on the on the table. Thank you.

  18. T. Crockett chipotle peppers are most commonly sold dried or canned in something called adobo sauce. Enjoy!

  19. Thanks Mayaluna! I made the stew without the adobo (added some curry spice instead) and it was fantastic. I can't wait to try it the "real" way.