Monday, March 21, 2011

Pinto Bean Stew with Butternut Squash

Dinner, like life, is all about expectations. For example, if I expected it to be spring, I would be disappointed by today's snowstorm. If I expected this meal to be a chili, I would be disappointed by its lack of heat ... and meat. That isn't to say the snow wasn't beautiful or that the stew wasn't good, but just don't go expecting a warm spring day or a real chili. This meal was in fact perfect winter comfort food.

I made a few changes. First I substituted pinto beans for black beans because apparently I only imagined I had a bag of black beans needing to be used up in my pantry. I used regular whole tomatoes because contrary to the original blog post, fire roasted tomatoes do not appear to be in the Montreal grocery stores. I added some cumin because I couldn't imagine making this dish without cumin (surely that was a typo). I also added a splash of red wine vinegar at the end because I thought the dish was missing something (other than more spice). The end result was hearty and tasty ... and now I have enough leftovers to feed a small army. Serve with buttermilk biscuits ... maybe throwing in some shredded cheese and garlic powder. (Cornbread would also be good, but I'm still on a biscuit kick.)

One year ago: The one, the only grapefruit yogurt cake ... if you haven't made this yet, I'm very disappointed!

Pinto Bean Stew with Butternut Squash (adapted from The Bitten Word, originally Bon Appetit)

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder (consider doubling)
1 tablespoon ground coriander (consider doubling)
1 tablespoon ground cumin (consider doubling)
28 ounce can tomatoes
1 pound dried pinto beans (or black), rinsed
2 chipotle chiles from canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced (consider doubling)
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano (consider doubling)
Coarse kosher salt
1 2 1/4-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup bulgur
splash of red wine vinegar
Coarsely grated Monterrey Jack or cheddar cheese

1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes.
3. Add garlic; stir 1 minute.
4. Sprinkle chili powder, coriander, and cumin over; stir 1 minute.
5. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, chipotles, and oregano.
6. Add 10 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours (time will vary depending on freshness of beans).
7. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
8. Stir in squash and bulgur. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until squash and bulgur are tender, about 30 minutes.
9. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and vinegar.
10. Serve with cheese and some biscuits or cornbread.

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