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Quick and Easy Meal of Delicious Harvest Vegetables

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It’s fall, my favorite time of year. Picking pumpkins, sipping freshly-pressed apple cider, unraveling corn mazes, admiring the alpenglow on the turning leaves, and of course, enjoying the bounty of the harvest.

This year I’m looking forward to joining Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins harvest celebration and tasting the best of what our local Colorado producers have to offer.

Here in the southwest, the aroma of roasting chile peppers is a sure sign of autumn. The distinctive perfume makes my mouth water and reminds me of one of my favorite fall recipes that brings together many local or homegrown veggies in an tasty and satisfying vegetarian meal.

In Native American lore, the three sisters – corn stalks, the beans that wind up them, and the squash growing in the shade underneath – symbolize the symbiotic relationship of siblings, community and togetherness. Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, including the corn, tomatoes, chiles, and beans, were unknown in Europe before the return of Columbus from the new world, making this a truly American dish.

You can easily add meat to this meal by substituting ½-3/4 lb. meat for one of the cans of beans, or just adding it in an extra layer in the bottom of the pot if your cast iron Dutch oven is large enough (this may require an additional 10 minutes of cooking). Double the recipe and add about 8 minutes to your cooking time to feed a family of 4.

Three Sisters Navajo Harvest
Serves 2 

1 cup white rice
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 -ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 yellow squash, cut into large julienne sticks
1 zucchini, cut into large julienne sticks
fresh kernels cut from 2-3 corn cobs, or 1 14-oz can, drained and rinsed
3 to 4 large tomatoes, chopped, or 1 14- oz. can chopped tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
salt and pepper, to taste
3-5 roasted chile peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Spray the inside of a cast iron Dutch oven and lid with olive or canola oil.
  3. Rinse the rice in a strainer and put into the pot with 1 cup of water. Swirl gently to settle into an even layer.
  4. Layer the beans, squash, zucchini, corn, and tomatoes into the pot, interspersing sprinkles of sage, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  5. If using fresh corn cobs, shuck the cob, stand on end on a plate and remove the kernels in a smooth, downward motion. Then add the corn to the pot.
  6. Add the chiles.
  7. Cover and bake for about 35 minutes, or until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully cooked meal escapes the oven.
  8. Serve immediately.

Post by Elizabeth Yarnell, author of Glorious One-Pot Meals: A Revolutionary New Quick and Easy Approach to Dutch Oven Cooking. Her patented cooking technique is perfect for time-challenged cooks. She speaks and gives cooking demonstrations around the country.




Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!