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Three Sisters Breakfast Bowls with Black Beans, Hominy, and Roasted Butternut Squash

Three Sisters Breakfast Bowl with Black Beans, Hominy, and Roasted Butternut Squash - view recipe at birdseedkitchen.com

Hominy is an ingredient that you don’t hear about often, unless you are making a Mexican dish like pozole, or you want to make your own Corn Nuts. (Yes, you can. This could be dangerous.)

Hominy, also called as nixtamal, is made from field corn that has been treated by a process called nixtamalization. Field corn is cooked and soaked in an alkaline solution (usually a dilute solution of calcium hydroxide know as limewater), washed, and then canned or dried.

Is hominy nutritious? The alkaline soaking solution in which hominy is process gives it a substantially higher calcium content than maize or corn. The nixtamalization process also makes the grain’s niacin more easily absorbed by the body. Hominy is also a whole grain, containing about 4 grams of dietary fiber per cup. I would treat it like any other starch or grain in a balanced diet.

I’ve been working on solutions for nutritious breakfasts which are pre-cooked, pre-prepped, or grab-and-go. In the past, we’ve relied on frozen burritos and breakfast biscuits, but I am a big fan of a homemade breakfast – and the small frozen meals were not cutting it for my pre-teen’s growing appetite. He gets on the bus just after 7 am, and needs a hearty breakfast to keep him going through first-hour gym class, until his late lunch period. And so, the first in what I hope is a series of breakfast bowls was born.

These bowls feature the “three sisters” – corn, beans, and squash – the three main agricultural crops of Native Americans in North America. This bowl has quite a few components, but the stovetop prep can be done while the squash is roasting. I prepped the squash first, using the bulbous ends of two butternut squashes, left over from recent spiralizings. To make the squash easier to peel, prick it a few times with the tip of a knife and microwave it for one minute.

The chorizo I use is from our local meat shop, Old Time Meat and Deli. It’s not a truly authentic chorizo, but I like it for what it is: leaner and milder than its more authentic counterparts. Once browned and crumbled it in the pan, drain it on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil. Then, use those delicious browned bits left over in the pan to add flavor to the black beans, with the help of a tablespoon of water for deglazing.

After the beans, give your pan a rinse, heat it on the stove to dry it out, add oil, and sauté the hominy. It has a tendency to pop in the pan, so if you have a mesh splatter shield, you might want to keep it handy. I blotted mine lightly with a paper towel after thoroughly draining it to cut down on spattering.

The remaining components – cilantro, avocado, and scrambled eggs – come together quickly. Next time I make these bowls, I might swap the scrambled eggs for a runny fried egg.

Whether you go fried or scrambled, let me know what you think of these bowls! They were liked by everyone in my house, and I look forward to creating more bowls soon.

Three Sisters
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Three Sisters Breakfast Bowl with Black Beans, Hominy, and Roasted Butternut Squash

Course Breakfast
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 tbsp canola oil divided
  • 1/2 tsp Penzey's Southwest Seasoning see note below for substitution
  • 1 pound chorizo
  • 1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 29 oz can hominy drained and patted dry
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6-8 grinds white pepper
  • 1 avocado peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp red onion, minced optional, for garnish
  • 4 lime wedges optional, for garnish
  • sliced jalapeño rings optional, for garnish
  • hot sauce optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Peel and seed butternut squash. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. On a baking sheet, toss squash with 1 tbsp canola oil, spread out evenly, and season with Southwest Seasoning. (Note: if you don't have Penzey's Southwest Seasoning, you can substitute chili powder, salt, and black pepper.) Roast squash for 25-30 minutes, until fork-tender.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, brown and crumble chorizo. When thoroughly cooked, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. 

  4. Return pan to heat. Add rinsed and drained black beans, along with 1 tbsp water. Season with a little salt and black pepper. Stir gently, scraping up any browned bits of chorizo. Cook until nearly all water has been evaporated. Remove from pan and set aside.

  5. Clean the skillet, and return to the stove over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp canola oil and heat until nearly shimmering. Add hominy. Sauté, seasoning with salt and pepper, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

  6. In a non-stick pan over medium heat, melt butter. In a bowl, thoroughly whisk 6 eggs together with 1/4 tsp salt and 6-8 grinds of white pepper. Add eggs to pan, and stir frequently until fluffy and cooked to your preference.

Assembling the Bowls

  1. Arrange squash, beans, and hominy in 4 bowls. Top with eggs and chorizo. Garnish with slices of avocado, chopped cilantro, red onion, jalapeño rings, and a lime wedge.

  2. If making meal prep bowls, store garnishes in small, separate containers. Microwave the bowl for about 2 minutes, add garnishes, and serve.

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Smoked Sirloin Chili

Smoked Sirloin Chili - chili with smoked beef

If you’re into thick, hearty, meaty chili, this one’s for you.

The quality of your chili powder is important, so make sure it is fresh and contains a good blend of chilis. I prefer Penzey’s chili powder, which is fairly mild. You could use a hotter chili powder if you prefer. Or, you can try making your own.

Smoked Sirloin Chili - chili with smoked beef
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Smoked Sirloin Chili

Course Main Course
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground sirloin
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3 1/2 tbsp chili powder (preferably Penzey's)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dark cocoa powder (not sweet)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 15-oz cans Brooks Mild Chili Beans
  • 3 14.5-oz cans Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
  • kosher salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Set your smoker for 165 degrees F. Load with wood chips. (I used a combination of apple and pecan.)

  2. On a piece of foil, shape 2 lbs of ground sirloin into a large, round patty, about 1 inch thick. Place foil and meat on your smoker rack, and pierce foil in a few places around the perimeter to ensure that smoke can circulate around the meat.

  3. Smoke patty for 1 hour at 165 degrees F.

  4. Meanwhile, heat canola oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot on medium heat. Add onion. Sauté until it browns a bit, about 10 minutes.

  5. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cocoa powder, and black pepper to onions. Cook about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add brewed coffee and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Allow liquid to reduce until the mixture forms a thick paste. Reduce heat to low until beef is finished smoking.

  6. Crumble beef patty into onion mixture. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 tsp salt.

  7. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for at least one hour. Season to taste.

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