Native Corn and Pumpkin Stew
The Thanksgiving season brings the generosity of the Native American people to mind since without their help, the early colonists would not have survived. And so it becomes a mark of true gratitude and respect to make a dish for our families that includes two ingredients prized by the indigenous people of this continent: corn, and that favorite seasonal squash, pumpkin.
Fragrant onions and herbs, along with the sweetness of the corn and tender pumpkin, make this a satisfying and delicious autumn meal. It would also be a fitting starter for your Thanksgiving feast. Here is the simple recipe:
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, or 3 cups canned pumpkin puree
3 cups corn kernels
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
8 cups broth or water
Dried or fresh sage leaves, to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
1. In a large soup pot, saute onion and garlic in the butter or olive oil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer mixture, covered, for 20 minutes, or until pumpkin and potato are tender.
3. Using a potato-masher, gently mash the pumpkin and potato and stir thoroughly to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper if needed. Serve hot.
Serves 6 to 8.
By Cait Johnson, Author of Witch in the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).