Mexican Vegetable Stew
This simple vegetable stew with vibrant Mexican flavors takes inspiration from pipíans, Mexico’s mole-like sauces, thickened with seeds. Here, a combination of almonds and sesame seeds gives the sauce body and richness. The vegetables—butternut squash, carrot, and optional frozen corn, with canned pinto beans—can vary with the seasons and your mood. In summer, add zucchini and fresh corn; or toss in a handful of quartered and sautéed mushrooms.
For more, try our easy stuffed Poblano Peppers.
What to buy: Dried Mexican oregano (a relative of lemon verbena) can be found in Latin markets or the Latin section of your supermarket.
- 1/2 cup whole, skin-on almonds
- 1/4 cup untoasted sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small butternut squash or other hard winter squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 cup frozen white or yellow corn kernels (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for garnishing
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sour cream, for garnishing
1Add the almonds, sesame seeds, chile powder, oregano, cumin, and measured salt to the bowl of a food processor and process to a fine meal. Set aside.
2Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ground almond-spice mixture and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the squash, carrots, beans, tomatoes, and broth or water and bring to a boil, stirring to make sure the almond mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat, partially cover the pan, and let the stew simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is very tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. If the stew threatens to dry out, add a bit more broth or water.
3Add the corn, if using, and measured cilantro. Season with pepper and taste, adding more salt as needed. Continue to simmer until the corn is hot and the flavors combine, about 5 minutes.
4Ladle into warmed serving bowls and garnish with sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro leaves.
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