Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spicy Vegetable Stew

Dear Lauren,

You know when you have a recipe that says add 1/2 cup of onion and a cup of squash.

I don't do that.

If the recipe calls for say, a cup of chopped onion, I just chop one onion and throw it in there! It always works out for me.

I just don't like having half an onion in the fridge.

It gets a little smelly.

You know what else I do?

Mise en place. It means
get everything ready before you start cooking. It's the most valuable advice I've ever received! Cooking is much more enjoyable when you have it all together, ya know?

Oopsie. Forgot the parsley in my mise en place.. Had to run out to the garden real quick. Instead of chopping it, I just took the scissors and snip, snip, snip!

I loved the cooking method in this recipe. They recommended adding the two squashes for the last 5 minutes on top of the stew and with the lid on to steam the squash. Smart!

The original recipe called for the stew to be served over steamed or boiled potatoes. I actually started steaming potatoes and then I stopped. Roasted potatoes. Yes, this is better!

It's really tasty. And so easy to make.

Spicy Vegetable Stew
adapted from Willie Green's Organic Farm recipe in the Pike Place Market cookbook

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound diced fresh or canned tomatoes, or a combination of the two
1 cup homemade vegetable stock
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (or black or kidney beans would also be just fine)
1 pound red potatoes, cut in 1-inch pieces, roasted*
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped, about 2 tablespoons (you can use cilantro if you have it instead)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss your red potatoes in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper and place them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. I put aluminum foil on the baking sheet and then top it with parchment paper for easy cleanup and no sticking. Bake the potatoes for 30-40 minutes or until they are browned. Set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and then add 1 tablespoon olive oil. The temperature is right when you see a slight sheen on the oil. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, and carrot and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often. I don't use a non-stick skillet so I needed to add an additional tablespoon of oil about halfway through.

Add chili powder and cumin and stir well. Add tomatoes, stock, and beans and stir. Cover and cook 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low if necessary. You want to simmer the stew, not boil it.

Take the cover off your skillet after you simmered the stew for 20 minutes and toss in the squashes on the top of the stew and then cover. There is no need to stir the squash in, the steam that rises from the stew and is trapped by the lid will cook it. Cook 5 minutes. Take a little taste and add salt and pepper as desired. I added two pinches of kosher salt and about 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.

To serve, add some roasted potatoes to a bowl, top with veggie stew, sprinkle some Italian parsley, and really enjoy your meal.



  1. Roasted potatoes look so perfect here! Now I'm hungry...would you pass me a plate, please?

    1. This is a really spicy dish. When I first read the original recipe, I wondered about the potatoes at all. But whether you roast them (which we loved) or boil them, they calm all that spiciness down a notch! Wish you could come over! I have some leftovers - but not for long!