This time honored recipe is a great reminder of the wisdom of the Native Americans.  The Three Sisters refer to corn, squash and climbing beans, which many tribes specifically grew together as they are mutually beneficial.  In the growing process the corn provides poles for the beans, the beans provide nitrogen for the soil and the squash leaves shade the earth preventing weed growth and help to retain moisture.  Nutritionally, they work well together as the beans provide the lysine and tryptophan lacking in the corn to make a complete protein.  The wisdom of the Natives offers us not only a delicious meal, but an excellent lesson in agriculture.  I am going to try this recipe but will only use one variety of beans, Rio Zappe beans from Rancho Gordo.

Stew Ingredients:
1/2 cup dried Anasazi Beans or Pinto Beans
1/2 cup dried Lima Beans
1/2 cup dried White Beans
1/2 cup dried Black Beans
1 TB Olive OIl
11/2 cups finely chopped Onion
1 1/2 cups finely chopped Green Bell Peppers (use the peppers from the box)
2 TB finely chopped Garlic
1 Jalapeno Chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp Cumin Seed
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Chile Powder
1 (28 oz) can peeled Tomatoes, with juice, I am going to use fresh instead
3 qts Water
3 ears of Corn (about 3 cups corn kernels)
1/2 cup Beer
2 cups diced Summer Squash

Dumpling Ingredients:
1/2 cup Yellow Cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 Egg
1/3 cup Milk
1 TB unsalted Butter, melted
1/2 cup cooked fresh, thawed frozen, or drained canned Corn Kernels

Place the beans in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.  Cover with water by 2 inches and soak 2 hours or overnight.  (In the tips section, it says you can bring the beans to a boil, cover the pot and remove from the heat.  Let sit 1 hour.  Drain off the soaking liquid and fill the pot with fresh water.  Cook as directed.)  Drain and set aside.  Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat; saute the onions, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno until soft, about 5 minutes.  In a dry, small skillet, toast the cumin seeds until aromatic and lightly browned; grind in a mini food processor or coffee or spice grinder, and add to the onion mixture.  In the same skillet, toast the cayenne and chile powder for just 1 or 2 minutes, being careful not to burn; add to the onion mixture.  Add the tomatoes to the onion mixture and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the 3 quarts water and drained beans to the pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1.5 to 2 hours.  Cut the corn kernels off the cob.  Add the beer, corn kernels, and squash, and cook until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the Dumplings:  In a bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  In another bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the egg, milk and butter.  Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and mix just until incorporated; fold in the corn.  Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons into the slowly simmering stew (there should be about 16 dumplings).  Cover and cook until a wooden toothpick inserted into the centers of the dumplings comes out clean, about 15 minutes.