“Three Sisters” Soup

Here in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, where many thousands of years ago retreating glaciers left fertile soil, Native American tribes—only a few hundred years ago—learned that three valuable vegetables would grow prolifically together, store beautifully through cold winters, and flavorfully serve up nutrients to a hungry population.  They called these vegetables –corn, beans and squash—the “three sisters” because they grew so well together in the rich river land soil.  The corn grew tall—reports from French trappers tell of stalks over 8 feet high—the beans wound up the supporting stalks of the corn, and the squash flourished in the shade at the feet of the corn and beans.

Crisp autumn days with the hillsides covered in brilliant crimsons and golds are perfect days to set a pot of soup on the back of the stove to feed hungry families.


Our friend Elaine made this soup for us last fall—and the recipe came from her friend Janet, who we’re told is as warm and comforting as the soup.  Elaine’s recipe is a tiny bit different than Janet’s—and ours is a tiny bit different than Elaine’s—so let’s say that three friends are offering this yummy recipe for:


                                                   “Three Sisters’ Soup”                                                    



Scallions, garlic, 4 cups of squash

Brown 2 chopped scallions and 3 minced garlic cloves in 2 T. olive oil.


Add water to squash in soup pot.

Add 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.


Add 3 cups water with 4 cups peeled squash. (butternut or other).  **Elaine’s note: I steamed and smashed the squash and then used the squash water as part of the three cups.

Try different types of squash in this soup.


Bring to a boil and then simmer with 1 can creamed corn and 1 can cannellini beans until squash is tender.


Puree half the soup mix in blender, or use the wand style blending right in the cooking pot.


Add another can each of corn and beans.  It works nicely to have 2 different colors of beans, such as pinto then black, or pinto then dark red kidney or light/dark kidney just because of the color. (Drain the beans before adding.)

Try different types of beans, too.


Reheat and top with chopped fresh (or dried) basil as topping.

Particularly good when shared with a friend or three (and maybe a corn muffin) on an “Indian summer” afternoon!






This post is shared at Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest #3,  Our Little Coop: CoopHop3, Fresh Eggs Daily:Fall Harvest Link Up Party, The HomeAcre Harvest Hopthe Creative Home and Garden Hop and The Homestead Blog Hop #1.

This post is also part of Tasty Traditions.

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