By Michael Araj
Despite the hot heat, fall has arrived with its abundance of autumn squashes and warm flavors, not to mention the colors. This warming stew keeps quite a while and increases in flavor the longer it melds. While it’s not a quick meal to cook during the week, it’s a great Sunday prep meal, freezes well, and can be eaten throughout the week.
As always, the first step is to get all your ingredients in place, or mise en place. This helps prevent me from looking like a chicken with its head cut off in the middle of my cooking since everything is ready to use.
Now it’s time to start cooking! Let’s heat up some oil and start cooking down the jalepenos, garlic and peppers!
Now time for the squash – the ultimate feel of fall. When you add the spices, after a few minutes, your kitchen should smell like a combination of all the flavors.
Time for the tomatoes and to cook down the squash since it will take less time than the beans to cook.
After the squash is mostly cooked, we add the beans, finish cooking the squash and then reduce the liquid.
Now we can enjoy our finished stew and celebrate the colors outside with those inside our bowls!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW
- 1 tsp jalapenos, minced
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 4 bell peppers, diced into ½ inch pieces
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- In a large pot, heat two tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add jalapenos. Cook until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds. Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, approximately another 30 seconds.
- Add bell peppers and stir well – this will prevent the garlic and jalapenos from burning. Cook approximately 4-5 minutes until peppers are softened slightly.
- Add the squash and stir gently to incorporate. Add the spices and stir again. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes on medium heat to bloom the spices.
- Add the tomatoes and stir gently to incorporate well – there should be a fair amount of liquid from the can which should also be incorporated. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook covered for approximately 25 minutes.
- Check on the squash – it should be softened but still not fully cooked with some resistance. Once at this point, add the beans. Cook another 15-20 minutes, covered.
- Check the stew and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed and desired. Cook another 10-15 minutes, uncovered, so that the stew thickens.
- Serve immediately or let cool then store – the flavors will meld the longer they are together. Serve heated, garnished with chopped cilantro and a lime wedge if desired. In the alternative, top with chopped parsley and finishing salt.