Sagamité with Maple Syrup and Butternut Squash

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Slow Cook Modern

Slow Cook Modern

By Liana Krissoff

Published 2017

  • About

ALSO GOOD WITH herb salad OR oven-fried eggs

My friend Leda told me about a meal she’d had in an upscale field-to-table restaurant in Canada, and on the menu was a word I’d never encountered before: sagamité. Sagamité comes up in European colonizers’ accounts of the foods prepared by Native Americans and Canadian First Peoples, and is most often described as a porridge of Indian corn (either nixtamalized or parched), sometimes with beans or a little wild game or fat, and chunks of pumpkin or other hard squashes, and sometimes sweetened. This is my interpretation, based on those descriptions (though not, I should say, on one Jesuit’s description centuries ago of sagamité as being comparable to wallpaper paste). I was surprised by how well these elements came together in a delicious, hearty, and, I might add, kid-pleasing meal.


  • cups (290 g) dried pinto beans
  • ½ large butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 teaspoon dried epazote (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • cup (115 g) hominy grits
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more for serving



Rinse the beans under running water, then dump them into the slow cooker and add the squash, epazote, and 6 cups (1.4 L) water. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.


Stir in the salt, then ladle about cups (600 ml) of the liquid from the cooker into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Whisk in the grits and cook until tender and thick, adding more liquid, if needed, about 10 minutes. Scrape the cooked grits into the cooker and gently fold them into the beans and squash and add the maple syrup. Serve with more syrup on the side for drizzling.