Native Americans throughout North America are known for growing “Three Sisters” gardens—a combination of corn, beans, and squash. In this entrée, you’ll see why. They make for such a satisfying, nourishing, and balanced meal. For best results, plan this dish a day in advance by soaking the beans and making the polenta (and refrigerating it overnight). This is a family favorite for us ever since discovering Bow & Arrow Indian cornmeal—I hope it becomes a favorite for you as well!
- 1 cup Bow & Arrow Brand Indian cornmeal
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons non-virgin coconut oil
- 1 cup black-eyed peas, ideally soaked overnight in plenty of water to cover
- 3 cups water
- Bay leaf
- 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon EACH: salt and dried rosemary
- Medium sized butternut squash (8 oz.)
- Coconut oil spray
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Salt, to taste
- First, the Corn – Place the cornmeal and water in a medium pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Then, reduce heat to low and whisk often until very thick, about ten minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt and pepper. Press into a baking dish (8 x 11.5 in size) and smooth out the top. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours, or overnight.
- For the Beans: If you’ve soaked the beans, they will cook more quickly. If not, that’s OK too. If your beans are still in water, drain them. Next, place them in a large pot along with the three cups water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender (about an hour if unsoaked; less if soaked). NOTE: If you’re using a pressure cooker, you’ll instead follow the directions according to your pressure cooker. They’ll take about 15 minutes if unsoaked and ten minutes if soaked.
- When your beans are done, pour off any excess water and stir in the lime juice, garlic, rosemary, and salt. Set aside.
- For the Squash: Preheat your oven to 400 F. Spray a baking sheet with the coconut oil and set it aside. Cut the ends off of your squash and then cut it in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds (and accompanying goop) with a spoon and set aside. Cut the squash horizontally into ½-inch thick slices. Lay the squash slices out flat on the baking sheet. Spray the tops with coconut oil. Drizzle the squash evenly with the agave nectar, and sprinkle evenly with the rosemary. Add salt as desired. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove, turn each piece over, and bake for another 15 minutes, or until nicely browned on each side.
- While the squash is baking, get the rest of your dish together:
–Optional Step, roasting the squash seeds: To do so, separate the seeds from the goop, rinse the seeds under water (in a strainer) until clean, and toss them with a little oil and salt (and garlic granules if desired). Place on a baking sheet (or in a pie pan) and bake at 400 F until browned—about 20 minutes. NOTE: You’ll need to remove them halfway through and stir.
– Pan-fry the Polenta: Remove the polenta from the refrigerator and cut it into squares (approximately three inches in size). Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add half of the oil (one tablespoon). Pan-fry the polenta squares for about five minutes on each side, or until lightly browned on each side. You’ll need to do this in two batches most likely, so when the first batch is done, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook as you did the first batch.
– Beans:If needed, reheat the beans gently over low heat before serving.
- To serve: Place the beans and browned polenta on your plate, alongside the roasted squash slices. If desired, sprinkle with roasted squash seeds. Enjoy!