From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...In American Indian tradition, corn, beans and squash are considered to be the Three Sisters. Tribal elders knew these crops flourished when they were planted together and they viewed that harmony as an extension of a belief that all things are intertwined and depend on each other to grow and thrive. The flavors of these vegetables blend well together, so it is no wonder that the combination came to be used in soups and stews that were also called the Three Sisters. There are many versions of this stew and the one I'm featuring is especially easy to make. My interpretation of this dish is actually more like a soup than a stew, so I serve it over a scoop of brown rice to give it more substance. This is a very straightforward recipe and you can't go wrong with it as long as you follow the times suggested in the recipe's directions. You want the vegetables to be a bit past crisp tender, but under no circumstances should they be overcooked. This is a remarkably flavorful stew and I know that those of you who try it will be happy with the results. The vegetables used to make it are now plentiful in local farmers' markets, so if you are a locovore, the stew will have a special appeal to you. Here is how it is made.
Three Sisters' Stew...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Heather and Martha Zschock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 (14.5-oz.) chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1-1/2 cups edamame or lima beans
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1-1/2 cups summer squash, halved vertically and sliced
1-1/2 cups zucchini,halved vertically and sliced
1-1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups hot cooked brown rice
1) Heat olive oil in a large pan set over medium heat until it shimmers. Add onions, garlic and thyme and saute until onions are translucent. Add stock, wine and edamame. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
2) Add all remaining ingredients, return contents to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, over low heat for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Fill each of 4 bowls with 1/2 cup brown rice. Ladle an equal portion of stew into each bowl. Serve immediately. Yield 4 large servings.
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