As my time in Korea winds down, I haven’t been cooking much. A few weeks ago, though, a friend asked me to cater the veggie meals for a charity volleyball tournament- my team won the thing, but that’s beside the point.  I had to make 30 dinners for people who’d be partying on the seaside beach in October temperatures after a long semi-drunken day of bumping, setting, and spiking (or trying to).  My natural instinct: stew. Although Jeju is a subtropical island with pretty moderate temperatures year round, it’s still been a little nippy this fall.  A warm hearty meal sounded perfect at the end of a long day.

Living in Korea (and being asked to cook only a week before) meant access to limited ingredients, but I knew I wanted to stick to an autumn theme- I’ve been missing all the pumpkin flavored treats.  Luckily, my main ingredient was available in the market I live in, even if it was a strange pumpkin squash hybrid.  The stew received raving reviews, and I even had enough leftover to feast w/ a few friends after our championship game, which just so happened to be played in a typhoon. Enjoy!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes


  • 1 small-medium pumpkin, gutted and sliced (no skins)
  • 2 14 oz. cans of black beans
  • 1 14 oz. can of kidney beans
  • 1 14 oz. can of corn
  • 4-5 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 medium onions, diced large
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 c vegetable broth (can substitute with water if you don’t have any)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsbp oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste


After preparing your vegetables, heat olive oil in a large pot over low-medium. Once hot, add garlic, onions, and peppers.  Saute for 5 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil briefly, then reduce to a simmer for 35 minutes.  You can always add more water to make it more “soupy”, but I preferred mine to be quite thick like a stew. Serve hot (and try it with my sweet potato biscuits).

Yields 5-6 generous servings.