Garden Lifestyle

Three Sisters Saute

Here is a dish to enjoy right now!

This savory saute of corn, squash and beans is the perfect way to enjoy the season's bounty. Click on pix to enlarge and read captions.
Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger


Serves 6 to 8

About 2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil or cold-pressed vegetable oil
2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped zucchini, patty pan or chayote squash
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
3/4 to 1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 or 2 serranos or jalapeños, halved, seeded, and sliced, optional
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3 generous cups fresh corn
2 poblano or Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1-1/2 to 2 cups cooked black beans, drained
About 1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese, optional garnish

There are many ways to use this sauté—it can be served as a main course garnished with some shredded cheddar and warm whole-wheat tortillas, or rolled up in them to make enchiladas or burritos. It is a delicious accompaniment to any south-of the border fare, with grilled fish, fowl or meat, and it is great leftover in a quesadilla or scrambled eggs. Later in the season, when summer vegetables are gone, I make this using winter squash such as butternut, acorn, or Delicata squash, or a small pumpkin, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces; dried chiles like ancho or pasilla reconstituted in a little hot water or broth; and frozen corn.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan.  Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes.  If you are using zucchini, halve lengthwise and slice in 1/4-inch slices, if using patty pan or chayote, quarter and slice into 1/4-inch slices. Add the squash, bell pepper, and jalapeno and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic, corn, roasted chiles, black beans and cumin, stir well, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to moderate, and cook for about 5 minutes.  Covering the pan should bring out enough juices from the corn and squash that the addition of liquid is not necessary.  If the pan is dry, add a bit of water, vegetable stock, or white wine.

Add the cilantro and squeeze a wedge of lime into the pot, stir, remove from heat and cover for a few minutes before serving.  Taste for seasoning. Serve in a warm bowl or in individual plates with the grated cheese as garnish if desired.

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