In Native American lore, the three sisters refer to corn, squash, and beans, which were traditionally grown together. The cobbler filling can be made ahead and baked with the topping just before serving.
Almost every pueblo in New Mexico has its own version of bread pudding, and it is a common feast day dessert, the designated day of each pueblo's patron saint given to them by the Spanish. All bread puddings are delicious, but each varies slightly. Note that the hot water added to the melted sugar causes the sugar to crystallize, but the sugar dissolves with heating.
Any type of winter squash—butternut, kabocha, delicata, red kuri, even small pumpkins—can be used in this hearty main course. Offering a wide variety of flavors, the recipe celebrates the harvest season.
You don't need a magic spell to turn a pumpkin into the edible serving dish for this satisfying autumn recipe. If you can't find a large pumpkin or squash, bake this stew in two smaller ones. Serve with Poblano-Cucumber Salsa (linked below).
If kabocha squash is unavailable, any other type of winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.) will work in this recipe, though it may change the texture due to varying moisture content. To make up for these differences, adjust the water you add in the last step.
Elliott Prag, a cooking instructor at New York’s Natural Gourmet Institute, offers a culinary history lesson with this recipe. It calls for wild rice, dried cranberries, and maple syrup—all of them indigenous to North America.
Thin-skinned delicata and butternut squash can be roasted without peeling. Serve this satisfying vegetable roast with brown rice, steamed bulgur, or polenta. Sprinkle leftovers with grated cheese, and broil until bubbly for a delicious next-day dinner.
Now that you can buy pre-cooked wild rice, it’s easy to use this Native American whole grain in speedy dinners. The nutty flavor of the rice and rich, creamy taste of the butternut squash are a delicious sneak preview of all the yummy foods of fall.