Breads and Crackers · Cornmeal · Legumes · Pumpkin · Squash

Three Sisters Swirled Bread

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I don’t really know what else to call it.

Other than…amazingly yummy.

But I can tell you how it came about.

I started out with bread dough.  I figured I’d make four loaves – if I’m making bread I try to make a lot.

Just your basic white bread – use whatever recipe you like.  While I was kneading the dough (or, rather, the Kitchen Aid mixer was kneading the dough), I decided to add some cornmeal to it for texture.

And that was that, at first.

Meanwhile, I’d cooked up a pot of black beans.  I was going to put some in a pasta salad, and figure out a use for the rest at some point.

Well, I never made the pasta salad.

While the dough was rising, Bill brought it to my attention that the garlic scapes were ready to be picked, so I decided I’d use a quarter of the dough to make focaccia topped with sauteed garlic scapes and cheese.

And, because the idea of the Three Sisters is never far from my thoughts, I started trying to figure out what I could make utilizing beans, corn and squash of some kind.  I had some pumpkin puree in the freezer…the cornmeal in the bread dough…and those black beans.

So, what to do with all of them?

I put the pumpkin puree (thawed first) in a pot with half of the beans and set it over low heat.  I added some ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter.  Not too much of any one thing (other than the squash and the beans) – just enough to add flavor.

I cooked and stirred the whole mixture to get rid of as much water as possible, until I had a thick, slighly sweet, mostly savory smear studded with softened black beans.

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I rolled out another quarter of my bread dough (down to making two straight-up loaves now) and smeared the squash and bean mixture over most of it.

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Then I rolled the whole thing up, like a jelly roll or cinnamon roll, sliced it into portions and set them, cut side up, in a large, buttered pie plate.

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I let them rise a bit, then I brushed the tops with egg wash and baked them in a 350 F oven until they were turning golden on top – about forty minutes. 

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I couldn’t wait until they cooled completely – I had to try one.

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The insides were still soft and kind of damp.  It’s possible I could have let them cook longer, but I suppose if they were filled with cinnamon sugar and chopped pecans, soft and damp would be a good thing.

Anyway, the flavor was…unexpected.  Sweet and savory and gently complex. 

And then I went a step further.

I spread some soft Great Hill blue cheese on a portion and took a bite.

Oh!  Well THAT was one of my few and far-between brilliant ideas.  The sharp cheese was the perfect foil to the mildly sweet, mildly savory concoction I’d created. 

I highly recommend the combination.

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