Let me take this opportunity to admit something to you: I’ve never been a huge fan of Lent. I come across lots of Catholics online who rave about how much they love Lent, and how it’s a great time for spiritual renewal, etc. (Funny, but I don’t know anyone in “real life” who says those things, go figure. Well, I’ll take that back; I know I’ve heard certain priests talk about the awesomeness of Lent, and not just when they’re giving their homilies), and I truly admire such people. It’s my own fault that Lent is not my favorite season, of course; I just know I ought to be devoting more time to prayer and less time thinking about when I can indulge in the things I’ve given up.
This year I’m enjoying Lent a little bit more than usual, and it’s not just because we’re eagerly awaiting the election of a new Pope. Since I’ve started making a conscious effort to try new recipes as often as I can, I’ve come across some great meatless meal ideas (like the tilapia I made on Ash Wednesday–yum!) and I’m having a blast trying them out. Imagine my delight when my weekly issue of our diocesan newspaper arrived in the mail with the first of six meatless recipes that they are publishing every week. It’s a soup chock full of all kinds of vegetables, created by Sandy Greeley, who according to the article in the Herald, is “a food critic, cookbook author and parishioner of St. Veronica Church in Chantilly”. Here’s the recipe:
Three Sisters Stew
Start to finish: 35 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
3 or more cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
2 to 3 cups cubed butternut squash
2 cups corn kernels (I used a 16-ounce package of frozen corn)
1 can hominy, drained
1 can kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2-pound green beans, trimmed (I got the pre-packaged fresh ones from the produce section; all I had to do was break them in half)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
ground cumin to taste
ground coriander to taste
taco seasoning to taste (I make my own–click here for my favorite recipe)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 bunch cilantro, chopped, optional for garnish
toasted pumpkin seeds, optional, for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat, and sauté the onion and garlic until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the squash, corn, hominy beans, tomatoes, green beans and red bell pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the cumin, coriander, taco seasoning, and salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot, and garnish with cilantro, cheddar cheese and pumpkin seeds, if desired.
Source: Arlington Catholic Herald (Catholicherald.com)
I found a good-sized butternut squash at the grocery store, and despite my initial fears of peeling and cutting the thing (then again, I cut into lots of pumpkins at Halloween time; so how hard could it be, really?) I found it quite easy. I ended up only using about a third of it, and put the rest in the refrigerator for later use.
It was a little more difficult choosing which vegetable stock to use, and I went with the Rachael Ray Stock-in-a-box–and not just because I met her; this one had the least number of additives. (I REALLY need to start making my own stock!)
And you wouldn’t believe how easy this was to put together! I think after twenty minutes or so on the stove it was done.
I garnished mine with some cubes of Cheddar cheese–which look an awful lot like the chunks of squash, don’t they? We didn’t have any pumpkin seeds, but I did throw a dollop of sour cream on top just for fun. Despite the boys’ grumblings that we were having soup again…they really did like it.
I served this the day Joe had left to go to Barcelona for a week. He is not a huge fan of soup, but perhaps he would have enjoyed this one…? Guess I’ll just have to make it again.