Thursday, November 12, 2015

Three Sisters Soup

Agriculture has always been an important subject in Native American culture. It emphasizes living with the land and understanding the surrounding natural resources.The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of various Native American groups in North America: squash, maize (corn), and climbing beans. One of the major Native American tribes that used these "Three Sisters" to trade with others was the Iroquois Confederacy.
The 2009 Native American $1 Coin is based on the theme of agriculture. It features a Native American woman planting seeds in a field of corn, beans and squash. 
Corn, beans and squash were among the first important crops domesticated by ancient Mesoamerican societies. According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together. This tradition of interplanting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, widespread among Native American farming societies, is a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet to generations. 
The Iroquois believe corn, beans and squash are precious gifts from the Great Spirit, each watched over by one of three sisters spirits, called the De-o-ha-ko, or Our Sustainers. The planting season is marked by ceremonies to honor them, and a festival commemorates the first harvest of green corn on the cob. By retelling the stories and performing annual rituals, Native Americans have passed down the knowledge of growing, using and preserving the Three Sisters through generations.

Cook's notes: There's nothing more comforting on a cool autumn day than a steaming bowl of nourishing, homemade "Three Sisters Soup." This soup is pretty open to variations and adaptations. Other recipes include green beans in lieu of black or pinto and hominy instead of corn, fresh or frozen corn and acorn squash for butternut squash. Roasting the corn and butternut squash brings out their natural sweetness. 
This is my adaptation of Three Sisters Soup.
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1-1/2 cups diced green beans or 1 can (15.5) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups butternut squash, small cubes or acorn squash
  • 2 TB. olive oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. each cumin, sage, thyme and curry
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz,) vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 can (14.5 oz,) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • Preheat oven 400 degrees. Mix cumin, sage, thyme and curry together and set aside.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Mix butternut squash cubes, corn and mixed spices with 1 TB. oil. 
  • Spread evenly out on baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Roast 20 minutes.
  • Heat 1 TB. oil, saute onion, garlic, celery and carrots about 5 minutes.  Add a pinch of sea salt. When vegetables are softened spread out on a paper towel. 
  • Add to the soup sauteed vegetables, roasted vegetables, broth, beans and fire roasted tomatoes.
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer on low uncovered for 30 minutes. 

Next posting: Spotlight on Louise Erdrich, Ojibwe writer of novels, poetry and children's books. 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds amazing. I cannot wait to make it for my son and husband.