Southwestern Vegetable Stew

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In dry heavy skillet, preferably cast-iron, toast chilies over medium heat until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds per side. Remove from heat; cool. Tear chilies into small pieces, discarding any remaining seeds. Set aside.

In large heavy saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add Onion and cook, stirring often, until lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, broth, molasses and reserved chilies; increase heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

In blender or food processor, in batches, puree tomato mixture until smooth. Pass mixture through fine-meshed sieve into bowl. Set aside.

In Dutch oven or deep sauté pan, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add both bell peppers, zucchini and corn; season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Add black beans and reserved tomato mixture; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in vinegar. Just before serving, garnish with cilantro, lime wedges and avocado if desired.

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