Calabacitas means ‘little squashes’ in Spanish.
Here is a great recipe for this time of year when you are buried by zucchini and squash. Every well-meaning gardener friend will bring you some giant zucchini as a “gift” right? Well this is the recipe for you, or even better, maybe you are that well-meaning gardener. Stop giving your friends squash and make them this yummy Mexican staple instead.
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1arge onion chopped fine
A couple cloves chopped garlic -optional
3-6 sliced in circles zucchinis and summer squash
2-3 chopped plum tomatoes
1-2 chopped fine Serrano peppers seeded
4 ears of fresh corn removed from the core
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime
1 cup veggie broth or bean liquid
Salt and pepper to taste
Avocados and tomatoes for garnish
In a heavy bottom soup pan heat some olive oil over medium heat. Sautee onions, garlic, and a chopped chili, like Serrano or jalapeño.
A Note on Chiles
I am a Mexicana in training, and I live next door and cook almost every day with my real Mexican friend, Diana. Here is what I have to say about chilies. One, most true Mexican recipes use either fresh serrano, habaneros ( do not pronounce the h), or Poblano which need to be roasted and skinned. You can roast them right on your stove top! They hardly ever use jalapeños ( pronounce the j like an h). Besides the fact that this poor peppers names are mangled constantly, they are really not as good as some of the others. However, they seem to be the most available so use them if you can’t find the others.
Okay, where was I? Oh yes,I was making Calabacitas. Now, I am not a huge summer squash fan, which is why I love this recipe. It really is yummy served with rice and beans. When the onions and garlic are translucent, add the chopped summer squash, zucchini(you really want both for color), chopped tomato. Add about 1 cup of veggie broth, or if you really want to get fancy, use some of the liquid from your home-made black beans you just made on the stove, but I digress. Uh-oh, I feel another tangent coming. This is like when I am teaching class and I start some crazy long sequence right?
Thoughts on beans
You can’t be a real vegan without eating a ton of beans. Well you can but why would you want to. For years, I have used canned beans. They are super convenient and I have always thought it a waste of time to cook them from dried. Or worse. I thought was this 2day process of soaking etc. Well, I have finally seen the light. I am a Mexicana in training remember? Diana taught me how to make them in a pressure cooker. Easy. I did my first solo flight of pressure cooked beans on the boat the other day and now, a feel like a rock-star and have turned into a bean snob.
I threw a pound of dried pinto beans, a whole onion cup in half, a few cloves of garlic, a couple bay leaves, salt, and about 8 cups of water in the pressure cooker. I locked it down, put it on the stove on medium, waited for it to start hissing, and then turned it down and cooked for 30 minutes. They came out perfect. Diana says every stove in Mexico has a pan of beans sitting on it. She also says that the salt makes the beans tough is a myth. Yay, because I love salt and the beans taste better when the salt soaks in.
Back to the recipe
Let the stew cook for 20-30 minutes. When the squash is tender, add the corn, lime juice,fresh cilantro and you are done. Serve with fresh avocado and tomatoes, the aforementioned beans and some rice if you need it. This would also be amazing with fresh tortillas. I have no idea whether you can find the real deal but the store bout ones will do in a pinch if you steam them first and leave them wrapped in a dish towel. Or make your own!