Like French Mirepoix, Italian Soffritto and Creole Holy Trinity; Native Americans have their own trifecta of ingredients. Known as ‘Three Sisters’, it’s the combination of corn, beans and squash. On my first attempt at stuffed pumpkin, I steered away from the frequent ground beef and cream of something soup. The Three Sisters combination kept calling. Could it be because I actually have three sisters?
Since pumpkin is squash, I wanted to create a dish with corn and beans. This sauce is more a filling than a stuffing. It combines a savory sausage meat mixture with, you guessed it, beans and corn plus tomatoes, aromatics and seasonings. And here is the other variation; it’s baked in individual sugar pumpkins.
Sugar, or pie pumpkins, range in size from about 4” to 12” in diameter. They are naturally a little sweeter, more like acorn or butternut squash. Since the large Jack-o-lantern varieties are more fibrous and bland, sugar pumpkins produce the perfect vessel for baked squash dinner. Once the pumpkins are baked to silky softness, you can eat the filling and scoop out morsels of the squash with each bite. Perfect for a chili day especially the week of Halloween, it’s an upgrade from the condensed soup meat sauce of traditional stuffed pumpkins.
This recipe makes a delicious hearty soup so make a double batch for dinner tomorrow and save the rest for the holiday. After a couple of days in the fridge or freezer, the flavors meld even more. On Halloween the kids can help clean and fill the pumpkins for an easy holiday dinner tradition. Individual pumpkins make serving fun. Enjoy my Three Sisters Baked Sugar Pumpkins for your holiday celebration.
2 lbs ground Country Sausage
2 medium Onions, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Chicken Broth
2 15-oz cans Light Red Kidney Beans, drained
2 cups frozen Corn
1 29-oz can Diced Tomatoes
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
6 1 ¾ to 2 lbs sugar or pie pumpkins
2. Add onions and garlic then continue cooking on medium heat until soft, about 6-8 minutes.
3. Add chicken broth and deglaze the pan.
4. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 1 hour stirring occasionally to marry the flavors. Adjust salt and pepper.
6. Fill each pumpkin with meat mixture leaving at least 1-inch of space at the top. Put the lid on and place on a baking sheet lined with foil.
7. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 1 hour or until the pumpkin is tender.
8. Serve each individual pumpkin on a plate with slices of crusty bread on the side.
• Exchange light red kidney beans for dark red kidney or white beans such as great northern or cannellini.
• Add more crushed red pepper for extra heat or omit for mild flavor.
• Exchange frozen corn for 1-2 ears of fresh corn cut off the cob.
• Exchange individual pumpkins for a larger 10”-12” sugar pumpkin but increase the cooking time depending on the size.
• Exchange the filling for your favorite chili.
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