Calabacitas are a traditional Mexican dish that has grown in popularity throughout the Southwest and embraces the warm flavors of zucchini, corn, and melted cheese. Over the summer, Art and I traveled through Arizona, and New Mexico and I tasted many dishes with roasted poblano peppers or rajas. Rajas are green chiles with onions sauteed in some fat — vegetable or olive oil, butter, even pork lard. It was a flavor profile that I thought would be a perfect marriage with the squash. And, boy was I right! The rajas added a new depth to the vegetable dish.
CALABACITAS Yields: 6 servings as a side dish Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes INGREDIENTS: 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced in half moons 3 large zucchini, halved in quarters, and then cut into 1-inch pieces 2 large tomatoes, diced 1 tablespoons chopped garlic 3 roasted poblano chile peppers, thinly sliced 15 ounce canned corn, liquid drained 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 14 ounces chicken broth 10 ounces queso fresco Procedure:
- In a large and deep frying pan over medium-high heat, add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the white onions and sauté for about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, poblano peppers and corn. Continue to cook the mixture for another five minutes, adding salt, pepper, and dried oregano. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and tomatoes and chicken broth. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Crumble the queso fresco on top of the calabacitas and serve.