Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mexican Vegetable Summer Stew

Soups and stews in the summer are just fine by me, especially ones utilizing the abundance of seasonal summer squash and corn.   This stew packs a good deal of flavor and will taste like you have been cooking all day.  You can thank the chipotle chile in adobo and fire roasted tomatoes for that.  These ingredients give the stew depth and add a smoky flavor.  I'm not much of a heat person myself, so I've removed the ribs and seeds from the chipotle chili.  If you prefer more heat, leave the ribs and seeds in tact.  If you're really brave, you could certainly add in two chipotles.  The addition of black beans and quinoa make this stew a protein rich powerhouse.  

Quinoa, pronounced (keen-wah) if you are not familiar with this ingredient, is actually a seed.  It fluffs as it cooks but still retains a little crunchy bite.  Although quinoa might appear to be a new super food, its origins are ancient.  It was a staple of the Incan civilization and considered to be a sacred grain.  Quinoa is popping up everywhere these days.   I'm seeing lots of recipes and magazines featuring it in one-way or another.  Quinoa is very versatile and can be used in both cooking and baking.  

When my in laws come over for dinner, I'll often make Mexican food.  It's fun, easy, and always a crowd pleaser.  I turned my mother-in-law onto quinoa with a cold salad I make chock full of black beans, tomatoes, corn, and avocado.  I've taken some of the same elements in the salad she loves and turned it into a stew.  I've even noticed a bag or two of quinoa sitting in her kitchen these days.  I love introducing people to new foods they have yet to try.  Hopefully as I move forward with this blog, I can accomplish just that.

When making the stew, prep everything first, measuring your ingredients and chopping your vegetables.  I do this whenever I make soups or stews and it comes together very easily.  Simply leave everything ready by the stove and toss in as you move along in the recipe.  You'll have a hearty one-pot meal in no time.  

Don't be surprised if people start flocking to your kitchen lured in by all the Mexican spices and aroma.  It will work out just fine because there will be more than enough stew to go around.  It also makes for great leftovers for lunch the next day.  I top this stew with slices of cool creamy avocado, bright cilantro, and chopped green onion.  Enjoy this outside; off your balcony, on your deck, in your yard, or anywhere you can soak up a long summer night.  A Corona in hand wouldn't be a bad idea either.

~Mexican Vegetable Summer Stew Recipe~

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle in adobo, ribs and seeds removed, chopped
2 zucchini, cut lengthwise and chopped
1 summer squash, cut lengthwise and chopped
1 28oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
2 cups cooked black beans
1/3 cup quinoa 
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
juice of 1 lime
sea salt and pepper to taste
avocado, green onion, and cilantro for topping

In a large pot, saute red onion, garlic, and chipotle in extra virgin olive oil for 3 minutes over medium heat, until the onion becomes translucent.  Add in zucchini, squash, chili powder, cumin, and coriander and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Add quinoa, can of tomatoes, and 4 cups of vegetable broth.  Bring up to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 15 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked.  You'll be able to tell when the white germ has partially detached itself.  It will look like a spiral.  Add corn and black beans and cook for a few more minutes.  Add the juice of one lime to the pot.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.

Serve in bowls with avocado slices and cilantro.  The quinoa has a tendency to sink towards the bottom of the pot.  Just give it a good stir as you ladle the stew into individual bowls.  Serves 6.

6 comments: said...

What a delicious sounding stew. Looks like it's full of flavor.

Stephanie Skoog said...

Thanks so much-it is, and so easy! Thanks for visiting my blog.

Epicurea said...

i am trying to learn more about mexican cooking. this looks absolutely delicious and pretty straightforward to prepare, thanks!

Stephanie Skoog said...

glad to hear it-thank you!

Anonymous said...

Ooh I love Mexican-flavored stews, and that avocado on top looks so good! I also like how you added quinoa in there, sounds delicious!

Stephanie Skoog said...

Thanks Amy-I'm a sucker for avocado!