Many Native American tribes planted a crop called “The Three Sisters”. Consisting of grain corn, beans, and winter squash, all could be stored and eaten later as a nutritious and protein rich meal.
This companion planting was as beneficial to the soil as it was to the body. The sturdy, upright corn stalks provided a trellis for the bean vines to climb upwards, and the nitrogen producing bacteria on the roots of the bean plants fueled the growth of the corn. The large leaves of the rambling squash vines provided moisture retention and shade to the soil during the hot summer afternoons.
This recipe uses canned items, but if you wanted to get really authentic you could use hominy, polenta, or grits instead of the sweet corn. All of those are grain corns. Dried beans are also more authentic, as they have fully developed their protein structure.
String beans, sweet corn, and summer squash don’t really count as “The Three Sisters”, but they do taste good together.
*Fun Fact – Is corn a vegetable, grain, or a fruit?
It depends on when you eat it. Corn is a type of grass – a cereal grass. Meaning that you can eat the seeds (dried corn kernels) as a grain. When you eat sweet corn, it’s considered a vegetable because the kernels are tender and immature. Botanically, the kernels are the “fruit” or seeds of the grass. So there you have it!
Maple Glazed Scallops (These only take about 5 minutes to cook, so save for last)
6 scallops, pat dry, and season with garlic salt and pepper
2 T butter
2 T water
2 T maple syrup
Heat a cast iron skillet to medium. Make sure it’s nice and hot. Mix water and maple syrup together. Add butter to the pan, and once it’s browned, gently lay your scallops in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes without moving the scallops around. Flip, and cook for another minute. Add the water and maple syrup, and let cook for another minute. Transfer to plate. Pour liquid (it will have cooked down very quickly) over scallops.
Three Sisters Medley
1 C Cannellini beans (canned)
1 C sweet corn (canned)
1 C roasted butternut squash, diced
1 C baby spinach, rough chopped
1 C red bell pepper, diced
1 green onion, sliced very thin
1/4 cube vegetable bouillon, crumbled
1 T nutritional yeast
1 T crushed dried sage
1 big pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 C heavy cream
1/4 C marscapone
2 slices thick cut bacon, fried and chopped. Reserve bacon fat.
salt and pepper to taste
Combine beans, corn, squash, bouillon, yeast, sage, pepper flakes, and cream in a bowl. Heat skillet to medium low and cook red pepper and green onion in bacon drippings until onion is translucent and peppers are getting soft. Pour in the vegetable medley, stir, and when cream hits a boil add the chopped spinach. Once the spinach starts to wilt, stir in marscapone. When the marscapone is fully melted, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve the scallops on top of the Three Sisters Medley, and top with bacon and the maple juices from the scallop pan!
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