Thursday, October 06, 2011

A New World Meal

Corn, beans, and squash were diet staples for indigenous peoples in many parts of the New World. Before you begin penning off letters informing me that in the Pacific Northwest people ate salmon, note that I said, "many parts." You can still leave condescending comments if you like-I don't care if you sound like a douchebag.

This was a reasonably quick dinner to put together with a bit of planning ahead. The squash does better soaking in marindae for a few hours, but the world won't come crashing to a halt if you just go ahead and roast it. I haven't been to the grocer in a while, and I'm still recovering from a nasty spill, so opening tins and roasting a winter squash was about all I was up for. Served with the baked brown bread from the previous post, it made a pleasant meal. I have no idea if corn, beans, and squash are really a complete protein when eaten together. I also have my suspicious about the alleged vitamins in potato crisps, but as the kids say, "Eh, whatever."

Feel free to change amounts, vegetables and spices. Consider this more of a template than a recipe.
(I toasted the seeds with a bit of oil, coarse salt, and chili powder)

For The Squash:

1 large acorn squash sliced in rounds, seeds removed (and saved-don't you dare toss those out you silly person).
3 tablespoons corn oil
1 tablespoon Steens Cane Syrup (or Golden Syrup, or maple, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic granules

Score the cut part of the squash flesh so it will absorb marinade. Place in a large plastic bag. Mix everything else together in a measuring cup. Pour into bag. Seal well, place in a dish (just in case it leaks) and let soak at least 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Pour everything out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Cook 20 minutes, turn and cook another 20 minutes or until squash is tender and nicely browned.

For The Vegetables and Beans:

1 tin dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tin light kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tin corn, rinsed and drained
About 3 tablespoons corn oil
8 medium carrots, diced very finely
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 heaping tablespoons sweet paprika

In a large pan, heat the oil and add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook over medium heat until the carrots have softened-about ten minutes. Add parsley, tarragon, garlic, and spices. Mix well. If needed, add more oil, a small bit at a time. When vegetables are about five minutes from being done, add the beans and corn. Cook until warmed through. Serve atop the squash with grated cheddar and sour cream . The grated cheese and sour cream are not staples of North American Indians prior to European contact as far as I know. They didn't use tinned corn either but damn if my grocer can get his hands on teosente. I wonder if that would be a good stunt to pull on the fancy supermarket about heirloom corn. Not that I want to give you bad kids out there any encouragement, but it is a bit more sophisticated than, "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?"

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