Three Sisters Baked Beans
The term "Three Sisters" describes the agricultural staples of many Native American
tribes (especially the Iroquois): beans, squash and corn. They're natural companions (or "sisters") in the garden, and besides holding enormous spiritual symbolism, they just taste great together. Hominy, or posole, is dried corn that has been treated with lime to remove the hulls—this is the corn that the Pilgrims enjoyed at the first Thanksgiving. Canned hominy is a readily available substitute. I've also called for good-quality canned pinto beans, although you may choose to cook beans yourself.
- 4 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 dried or canned chipotle peppers, seeded
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 cups diced onions
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh oregano (preferably Mexican) or 1 ½ tsp. dried
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 2 cups peeled, diced butternut squash
- 2 ½ cups canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 15-oz. can hominy, rinsed and drained
- ⅓ cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 Tbs. cider vinegar
1. In large saucepan, combine 3 cups broth, sun-dried tomatoes, chipotles and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove and discard cinnamon stick then transfer tomato-chipotle mixture to food processor or blender and process until smooth; set aside.
3. In 5-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, oregano and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened, about 4 minutes. Add squash and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Stir in beans, hominy, molasses, tomato-chipotle puree and remaining 1 cup broth. Cover, transfer to oven and bake 40 minutes.
4. Remove bean mixture from oven and stir in vinegar. Serve hot.