This dish is perfect for the end of summer, when all the bounty of the season is still available, but evenings are beginning to cool and a big, hot bowl of dinner is something to be welcomed. Shell beans are really just immature dry beans, and can be cooked like dry beans that have been soaked. There is a bit of a spectrum between the "shell" and the "dry" stages for beans, and just how long they take to cook can vary a lot based on just where they are on that line. So we recommend cooking the beans separately from the rest of the vegetables in this dish in order to make sure the beans get cooked all the way through without endangering the rest to overcooking.
This is a great recipe, warm and filling. It uses dry beans, winter squash, and frozen corn, as well as onions, canned tomatoes, and garlic. All of these might be in your winter pantry if you managed to plan ahead a little - and if not, they're all available at the coop! This recipe is adapted from one in Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair.
Dry beans are a great addition to the local diet. Our crop didn't do so well in 2010, but locally-grown black beans can usually be purchased from Elmer Farm in East Middlebury. This recipe is wicked easy and super delicious, but not for those on a low-fat diet. I don't actually know if it's traditionally Puerto Rican, but I learned from someone who was from Puetro Rico, so that's close enough for Vermont.