You know I collect friends on the internet like people collect stamps – from all sorts of interesting and unusual places. The great thing is that they are prepared to share family favourite recipes … and when they are uber frugal it is such a bonus.
Its all very well reading a book and discovering a recipe .. but its far better to have one shared with you that has been used and tweaked to perfection by a proper family rather than a celebrity chef. You can have complete and utter confidence that its going to work brilliantly first time and that always makes my heart sing.
So this is a recipe from Lorna … who is a gal who hails from the Prairies of North America ….. she has actually BEEN to places I have only heard about in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books .. so when she offered to share her signature dish ….. Three Sisters Chilli … I was like …. YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!
The “Three Sisters” method of planting is one used by the Original Tribes … its when you plant a kernel of corn, a bean and a seed to grow a squash all in the same hole. As the plants grow they form a self-supporting cluster – offering protection and water retention as needed. As the crops are harvested one at a time you end up tripling the annual yield from your piece of ground … pretty smart – Huh? So “Three Sisters Chilli” was going to include all three ingredients.
And she emailed the recipe .. and I read it and emailed back …. but we don’t have the squash you mention …. would a piece of butternut squash do?
“Hell Yes!” came the response … so a squash was added to my shopping list.
Only my “supermarket of choice” didn’t have one this week
“Sorry I am not going to be able to make it – no squash”
“Never mind – use carrots .. you got carrots, right?”
See ….. you just know from the go-get that this is a Mum in the kitchen who is big on the practical and short on excuses LOL. So … although I am making this with a carrot … you can substitute with a quarter of a butternut squash cut into cubes instead.
- 1 onion
- Half a pepper
- 1 large carrot (or quarter of squash)
- 1 clove of garlic
- Quarter teaspoon of paprika and chipotle
- Half a teaspoon of ground cumin
- Half a cup of kidney beans (heaped handful)
- Half a cup of black beans (heaped handful)
- Half a cup of green lentils (heaped handful .. or use a drained tin of each)
- 1 tin tomatoes – blitzed till smooth.
- A heaped handful of sweetcorn kernels
Chop your veggies – my carrots are cut small here as they are pretty dense. If you are using squash then cut into 1 cm dice. Soften in a little oil or water (if you use water this can be a Syn free dish for those of you that I know are following the Slimming World plan at the moment) Stir in the spices and cook for a couple of minutes. Before adding the tomatoes and another tin of water and bringing up to the boil. These are my prepped beans – the kidney beans and the black beans were soaked overnight. The kidney beans were also brought to the boil in plenty of water and boiled hard for ten minutes before being drained. It deactivates a toxin that is present in kidney beans so its better to be safe than sorry.
The lentils don’t need to be soaked they will cook during the cooking time. So beans in ……………………. Up the boil …. now I am using my thermal cooking bag … so I pop the lid on the pot and boil hard for ten minutes to heat up the pot. Before snuggling the pot into the thermal cooking bag. You can of course do this in your regular slow cooker .. you will need it on HIGH to cook the beans and about four hours should see it done. Mine just sits there like a pink pumpkin for four hours of so and Voila …….. Three Sisters Chilli …Just stir in the corn before serving and the residual heat will cook it through.
Perfectly cooked beans (not mushy but cooked through) – little sweet nuggets of corn and a deep flavourful base with the tomatoes and spices. Some veggie chilli’s are a little thin and soupy – but this one sits up like a meat chilli does .. I think the addition of the meaty lentils is a stroke of genius as it really feels like a proper chilli when you are eating it.
It was really filling and had a proper “comfort food” feel to it .. we honestly didn’t miss the meat for one minute .. although as I source my beans at a pretty great price this worked out at about 10 p per portion. For that reason I think I may bow to the boy’s request and make it again one day soon.
Thanks Lorna – hope I did your favourite recipe justice. We all cleaned our plates so it gets a massive big thumbs up from Scotland XX
So what do you think my lovelies – definitely one to bung in the slow cooker for a delicious weekend dinner isn’t it?