Pasilla Chile Stew

A beautiful, rustic stew highlighting simple vegetables in a deeply flavorful, invigorating, broth. We love it because its substantial without being heavy. If you can't find pasilla chiles, substitute dried guajillo  or a blend of dried guajillo and dried ancho chiles.

the broth:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 medium dried pasilla peppers, stemmed and seeded
1 small white onion, cut into quarters, skin on
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 small carrot, cut into 1-inch coins
2 large, dried Mexican avocado leaves (opt.)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
6 cups water
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt

the vegetables:
1 medium potato, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 medium carrot, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 1/2 cup diced summer squash, 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup sliced Romano or green beans
2 cups cooked Sangre de Toro or pinto beans, drained

to serve: chopped cilantro, slivered green onions, sliced avocado, queso fresco, wedges of lime, olive oil

To make the broth, heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the pasilla chiles, onion, garlic, carrot, avocado leaves, and oregano, and toss lightly to coat. Add the water and salt, and bring to a simmer. Dial back the heat, and cook, simmering for twenty minutes. Strain the broth into a bowl. Pick the garlic cloves from the pepper mixture, reserve them, and discard the rest of the chile solids (or reserve for another use). Smash the now-soft garlic into the bottom of the soup pot and pour the broth back into the pan, you should have a delicious broth at this point.

Bring the broth to a simmer, add the potato and carrot cook, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the summer squash, Romano and Sangre de Toro (or pinto) beans. Cook until the beans are heated through, but be mindful not to overcook the summer squash - you want to serve them with a bit of bite. Serve each bowl with cilantro, green onions, avocado, queso fresco, avocado, a good squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Serves 4.

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